Alasdair Ritchie, senior vice-president of worldwide operations at TBWA, has quit the company as a result of the merger of GGT and TBWA Simons Palmer last May.
It is also understood that TBWA chief operating officer Grant Duncan may soon be leaving the company. However Duncan claims: “It’s absolutely and completely not true.”
The departure is part of a trend, as several London agencies begin to make redundancies after mergers. About 12 staff are understood to be leaving TBWA. More redundancies are expected if the rumoured merger of Grey Advertising and Mellors Reay & Partners goes forward.
Ritchie, who was president and chief executive of TBWA Europe and Australasia for the three years preceding the merger with GGT, says the merger led to a situation where either he, the president and chief executive of TBWA worldwide Michael Greenlees or president of TBWA international Jean-Marie Drew had to leave.
“After the merger it is simply a question of three into two won’t go,” he says. As Ritchie had already built up the regions within his territories he says only a “maintenance job” remained.
He does not have a job to go to, but says: “I have a few irons in the fire.”
Last week’s redundancies at Omnicom-owned TBWA are understood to have come mainly from account management, though it is believed that a handful of creative staff are also affected. Among those leaving are Richard Reast, a senior account director. Jeff Quilter, head of production, is also understood to have handed in his resignation.
Paul Bainsfair, chairman of TBWA, says: “After a merger, inevitably you have duplication. Each case has been weighed up individually.”
At the same time, the company is hiring staff to man the 50m Natwest account the agency won in June (MW 25 June). It is also looking for somebody to head its Nissan account across Europe. Bainsfair says: “It would be nice if you could just transfer people across, but the skill sets are not the same.”