New-look M&C Saatchi kicks off recovery bid by bringing customer agency Lida centre stage

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Eagle-eyed observers of UK adland may have spotted that M&C Saatchi has had a few issues recently – an £11.6m hole in its accounts and the departure of Maurice Saatchi along with the non-execs – but nothing is impossible, as it used to say, and a big plank in its hoped-for recovery is the merger of creative agency M&C with customer agency Lida. Lida disappears as a separate entity.

Alongside creative the new M&C Saatchi will offer tech and innovation, partnership marketing, customer experience and data analytics. It now looks rather like WPP’s Wunderman Thompson. It will be led by CEO Camilla Kemp and CCO Ben Galik, formerly CCO of Lida (both below.)

Worldwide CEO Moray MacLennan says: “The bringing together of data, creativity and technology is now table stakes. What will differentiate the new M&C Saatchi is a focus on the frontiers of change, and the business leadership talents of Camilla and Ben. They have complementary skillsets and natural chemistry. We’re excited for the future.”

CEO Kemp says: “It’s an incredible honour to lead the renewed M&C Saatchi. We have extraordinarily talented people in both businesses and I’m excited that together this team will be able to offer clients broader, richer creative answers to meet the demands they face at a time of unprecedented change.”

Customer agency Lida had been the jewel in M&C’s somewhat battered crown in recent years although it’s been hit hard by a number of top level departures and the accounting problems. The flagship creative agency has struggled to re-invent itself, firs with a disastrous merger with Lean Mean Fighting Machine (which some see as the start of its woes) then a new management team from Leo Burnett who departed as the agency offered voluntary redundancy.

There is still much goodwill for M&C in the UK and global boss MacLennan (David Kershaw is CEO of the quoted UK holding company) should know what he’s doing by now. The new simplified (and, arguably, more contemporary) structure should help. It may also make M&C more attractive to a buyer.

This is an updated version of an earlier story.

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