Ex M&C Chicourel joins Panczyk’s revival bid at Grey

One door opening when another closes has (nearly) always been the way in adland although one suspects there are quite a few people waiting for the next door to open as agencies – in the UK and US anyway – cut back.

Racquel Chicourel, one of the senior execs at troubled M&C Saatchi who took voluntary redundancy, has clearly decided not to exile herself to her garden, surfacing as the new CSO at Grey London. Prior to M&C, Chicourel was head of strategy at Saatchi & Saatchi and a planning director at AMV BBDO and BBH London, so a pretty good pedigree.

Chicourel (below with CEO Anna Panczyk) says: “What our industry needs right now is change. And where better to do that than at Grey, which has always had an appetite for it. An agency that has reinvented itself before, one that changed its name to make an important point about diversity and to honour its Jewish founders (Valenstein & Fatt), one that expands the boundaries of creative ideas.

“Grey is a place open to everyone with a fearless spirit and an appetite for change, from all walks of life and all corners of the world.”

Grey London certainly has an appetite for change, just about every senior post has changed over the past few years, most recently creative chairman Adrian Rossi who departed after a year and long-serving creative Vicki Maguire who’s gone to Havas, now helmed by former Grey CEO Chris Hirst.

The exec now steering this WPP ship is CEO Anna Panczyk, imported from Grey Poland where she was something of an adland superstar, even appearing in Vogue. Panczyk (above with Chocourel, left) says: “I can’t think of a better way to start this new decade than by welcoming Raquel to the leadership team. Her fierce intelligence and passion for creativity is irresistible. I have absolutely no doubt that she’s going to enable us to make our best work yet.”

The effervescent but steely Panczyk will need a firm grasp on the Grey tiller. There’s speculation that the agency has won some so far unannounced new business to make up for the likes of the departing Lucozade and it recently won a Euro assignment for Carlsberg’s Alcohol Free beer. But she needs to get some decent work out of the door double quick, which is surely one of the reasons she’s snapped up planner Chicourel.

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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.