M&C Saatchi wins breathing space with two City hires

M&C Saatchi has appointed two old City hands to its board as it tries to recover from the accounting problems that led to a two thirds fall in its share price last year, the resignation of co-founder Maurice Saatchi and three non-executive directors.

The new boys are Gareth Davis, one-time CEO of Imperial Tobacco, who joins as deputy chairman, and Colin Jones, a former finance director of Euromoney. Davis is expected to take over from co-founder Jeremy Sinclair as chairman although as a non-exec.

This, at least, is a vote of confidence by the two who will, presumably, have done their homework even though a full review of the accounts and governance of M&C is ongoing.

The appointments still make M&C look like the ultimate boys’ club. The other public company directors are CEO David Kershaw and Bill Muirhead. Moray MacLennan runs the overseas empire.

M&C, once a contender to be the biggest UK creative agency, has other problems besides. At home it’s lost its flagship NatWest account to The&Partnership and abroad its extensive network is a combination of minority and majority stakes, all with an earn-out due some day presumably.

The appointments of Davis and Jones at least give the agency group some respite.

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