Pahl quits AMV for VMLY&R, BBH cuts again

More diverting doings in London’s adland: AMV BBDO group chairman Justin Pahl (left) is off to be CEO of WPP’s VMLY&R London (which doesn’t look like the most obvious thing to do) leaving Sarah Douglas in charge as AMV CEO while Campaign reports that BBH, which seemed to be having a pretty reasonable year, is making ten per cent of its London staff redundant.

AMV BBDO seems to have been slimming down recently too despite being the UK’s biggest agency by billings.

The most recent BBH cull (there’ve been others) seems to be a consequence of the loss of Virgin Media to adam&eveDDB (which also restructured after losing Virgin Media.) It’s a good job BBH hung on to Barclays in a recent review otherwise it might have been merged into a Publicis-owned CRM company in Sutton Coldfield.

Y&R London had a perfectly capable management team in place before the merger, with ex-Leo Burnett Paul Lawson as CEO, overseen by global president David Patton. But VML founder Jon Cook put his foot down and it was VML on top rather than Y&R.

Pahl may indeed do the trick but the trick is looking trickier than maybe it needs to be. But we’ll see lots more of this in 2019 as creative agencies struggle with cost-cutting clients and everybody else trying to eat their lunch.

As for BBH, surely it would do better outside Publicis. Will Accenture or one of the other consultants ride to the rescue?

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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    Jon Cook isn’t the founder, just long time CEO.