XM London, the new media agency owned by the Cordiant Group, has parted company with its managing director, Michael Crossman.
The move is described by insiders as a cost-cutting exercise by the troubled Cordiant. Crossman’s role has been taken over by Dennis Kerslake, managing director of Cordiant’s sales promotion and direct marketing division, 141. XM London is being merged into 141, although the company says it has no plans to drop the XM name.
The award-winning Web agency, established in 1994 as Bates Interactive, has worked for high-profile clients such as 10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, Allied Domecq, Shell, Halifax and Cable & Wireless.
Crossman had himself overseen 20 redundancies earlier this year. Despite remaining upbeat about the agency’s prospects as recently as last year, Crossman describes 2002 as “probably our toughest year since we began”.
Observers believe Crossman’s departure and the decision to put a below-the-line person in charge of new media is a sign that Cordiant no longer recognises the need for specialist new media management skills.
No one at Cordiant or XM London was available for comment as Marketing Week went to press.