Graham Green, chairman of LGM Marketing Services, is ex-pected to take over as chief executive of WMGO Group following the dramatic expulsion of Chris Woollams from the publicly-listed company – first revealed in Marketing Week last week.
Woollams defiantly denies he has been dismissed. “I’m the chief executive of WMGO Group. I have not stepped down, not resigned, not been fired,” he claims.
One of Green’s first tasks will be to negotiate a severance agreement with Woollams, whose compensation could amount to £200,000. He still has a large part of a two-year contract with the plc to run.
At the same time, the group company has agreed to a management buyout of its advertising and direct marketing subsidiaries. Woollams Moira Gaskin O’Malley, Sutch Webster WMGO Direct, WM Media (which is half owned by CIA Group and makes a profit) and WAM Studios have been sold to their management for £1.
As part of the deal, which requires shareholder approval, the plc will retain a ten per cent stake in the MBO company. The deal was rushed through last week after Woollams’ ousting. Other agencies approached the plc about a possible takeover. Five proposals were on the table.
“We’re going to stop worrying about corporate structures and plcs and concentrate on advertising rather than being buffeted by the concerns of distant investors,” says WMGO managing director Steve Greensted.
Leading the management buyout team are Greensted, finance director Colin Munday and creative directors Gerry Moira and Malcolm Gaskin.
Clients of the agency include Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries, Jordans Cereals, Sainsbury’s SavaCentre and Mercury One-2-One. Woollams will not take part in the buyout and claims he never intended to.
Ian Perry, deputy chairman of WMGO Group, is also expected to step down. He was the MMI executive most closely involved in promoting WMGO’s reversal into the listed company nine months ago, when it also changed its name to WMGO Group.