Axe falls on staff in KHBB revamp

Cordiant-owned KHBB is relaunching as K Advertising after internal talks about merging it with Saatchi & Saatchi were discontinued because of client conflicts.

The agency will move into Cordiant-owned offices in London’s Whitfield Street and position itself as delivering greater “creative efficiency”. Ten per cent of the agency’s 70 staff will lose their jobs as a result.

The restructure follows a failed management buyout (MW June 30) and the departure of managing director Graeme Arkell and executive creative director Barbara Nokes. The third member of the failed buyout team, Hamish Pringle, continues as chairman and becomes chief executive of the new agency.

KHBB has estimated billings of 70m and a client list which includes Carlsberg-Tetley and Uniroyal.

“The objective is to try to restate our position in the market,” says Pringle. “It has been a tough year and a prolonged baptism of fire. When we tried to execute the buyout we were in an expensive building and we had too much space.

“But we would not have taken five months if it was simply a lick of paint and a new letter. We are introducing a new way of working to become an agency that is light on its feet and able to produce swift tactical advertising.”

Cordiant closed Campbell-Mithun Esty’s continental European offices in March and sold the US side of the business to the Interpub-lic Group for $40m (2.5m). It left KHBB as the only remaining part of what had been Cordiant’s third agency network.

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