M&C names exiting C4 CMO Zaid Al-Qassab as new boss

One thing you can never doubt about M&C Saatchi is the scale of its ambition and it’s sprung a surprise on agency land by appointing exiting Channel 4 CMO Zaid Al-Qassab (below) as CEO, effectively replacing retired Moray MacLennan.

Al-Qassab has also worked as BT and P&G and at C4 oversaw its high profile 4Creative in-house agency. He is joining a number of commercial and marketing executives leaving the troubled broadcaster although this appointment was presumably in train before his departure was announced.

It means the top duo at the listed agency group – Al-Qassab and executive chairman Zilla Byng-Thorne (former boss of Future) are both new to the agency sector but M&C is a listed company (albeit currently valued at a modest £215m) and they should play well with investors and bigger clients.

Byng-Thorne says: “We are delighted to have attracted someone of Zaid’s calibre to lead M&C Saatchi into its next phase of growth. Zaid has proven leadership qualities, has managed global teams, and his client-centric focus, dynamism and commercial acumen will be highly valuable as we look to accelerate our growth trajectory.

“The advertising and marketing landscape is fast-moving and a modern, forward-thinking, agile leader like Zaid will help shape M&C Saatchi for excellence on the global stage, supported by our exceptional regional leaders across the UK and globally. It is truly an exciting moment for us.”

Al-Qassab says: “I have long admired M&C Saatchi’s creativity and industry-leading work and I am delighted to be joining one of the most recognised advertising brands in the world. I believe M&C Saatchi has a unique growth opportunity, capitalising on its combination of advertising and specialist marketing services, and its unrelenting focus on creative solutions built on client understanding, with an agile, global, integrated offer.”

The main ad agency will, presumably, be run by M&C lifer Marcus Peffers and new UK CEO Jo Bacon, who joined last week from Ogilvy. This seems a lot of chiefs but that’s always been the M&C way.

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