Eight Saatchi Account Directors Leave To Form New Agency
LONDON (AP) _ Saatchi and Saatchi, the troubled British advertising giant, said Thursday that eight account directors at its London agency have resigned to form an independent company.
The departure of the directors, who worked at Saatchi and Saatchi Advertising Ltd., was unrelated to a recent management shakeup and decline in the parent’s financial performance, a spokesman for the company said.
The spokesman said the directors are among about 100 at the agency and dismissed suggestions it represented a major defection.
″It’s part and parcel of having a people business,″ he said. ″People come and go.″
The departures follow unconfirmed speculation of a possible sell-off of Saatchi’s core advertising businesses and the resignations earlier this month of directors Roy Warman and Terry Bannister, formerly joint chief operating officers of Saatchi’s core communications division.
Paul Cowan, one of the directors who resigned, told the Evening Standard newspaper that Saatchi and Saatchi had changed from being a young, dynamic agency to a multinational conglomerate.
″We are the keepers of the agency’s creative flame,″ he was quoted as saying. ″We hope to recreate the thriving agency culture which Saatchis used to have.″
In the year ended September 1989, the company reported a 48 percent drop in pretax profit to 61.3 million pounds, or about $103.6 million, from 117.0 million pounds, or $197.8 million, in 1988.
Saatchi last year named former IMS International Inc. chief executive Robert Louis-Dreyfuss as chief executive of the company in hopes of redeeming losses relating to the purchase of consulting businesses, bought for about 250 million pounds, or $422.6 million, mostly in 1986.
Louis-Dreyfuss’ appointment followed considerable speculation over a possible breakup or buyout of the company. Carl Spielvogel, head of Spielvogel Bates Worldwide Inc., Saatchi’s unit in the United States, last year was rebuffed in an attempt to launch a management buyout.