M&C Saatchi lures Walker to head media operation

M&C Saatchi is planning to set up its own media operation in the autumn with ex-Zenith chief executive Christine Walker. It expects to have an estimated 60m worth of billings from existing clients on its first day.

According to an M&C Saatchi source the new operation intends to bring M&C clients such as Mirror Group, Dixons/Currys, Asprey, Glaxo and Energis on board when it launches.

The media accounts are currently held by Zenith, The Media Centre and Optimedia.

It is understood the new operation will attempt to leverage the Kraft Jacobs Suchard business out of Zenith. Informed sources say the intended deal involves Walker holding a majority stake in the company.

It was known that Walker had intended to set up her own media operation (MW April 4). Her baby is due next month and her contract with Zenith ends in the autumn.

It is not known if she intends to tie the operation into a big volume media operation such as Carat.

Walker is understood to have been offered a job by BSkyB for an enormous salary. She also had an offer from WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell to become chief executive of the merged media operations for J Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather.

Walker was unavailable for comment when Marketing Week went to press.

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