House 337 received a somewhat sceptical response when the Next 15-owned combo of Engine Creative and fashion agency ODD announced its new moniker. 337 is the number of people it employed at the outset and some thought it might not stay that many for too long.
Can’t help you with that but House 337 has just announced its new senior line-up under CEO Phil Fearnley, a digital exec with long experience at the BBC and others. It looks a pretty strong line-up despite a number of fairly high profile departures. It also says it’s a “collective,” reflecting a culture of collaboration and more civilised working practices.
Under CEO Fearnley Matt Rhodes is the CSO, Kate Kelsey is CFO, Charlie Hurrell is chief client officer (top suit presumably, what we used to call MD) and Tayo Arewa is head of people.
Leading creative are Engine veteran and, before that, WCRS’ Leon Jaume and Jo Moore as advertising & communications ECDs, Matt Fenn as chief design officer on experience design; ECDs Angus Mackinnon and Zara Ineson on fashion, wellness & lifestyle and Kim Lawrie, head of emerging technology, on innovation.
Fearnley says: “Businesses are more complicated than they’ve ever been, and to assume that any one person at the top can know everything is a huge mistake. In building House 337 as a collective, we have been inspired by the notion of distributed organisations, empowering decision-making and engagement throughout the organisation. It’s about the power of all, not the power of one.”
Re-organising these things without frightening too many horses is the devil of a job and Fearnley does seem to think different from many of his agency peers. The new structure does reflect the need for creative agencies to broaden their repertoire, in particular by majoring on customer experience.
He may be silently thanking his lucky stars that owner Next 15’s bid for M&C Saatchi looks to be firmly in abeyance thanks to a collapse in Next’s share price. Putting House 337 and the always feisty M&C together would have been a nightmare for someone.