TBWA searches for ‘heavyweight’ to fill chair for UK group business

TBWA has been searching for a chairman to head its UK group operations, it has emerged. It is thought that TBWA Europe president Paul Bainsfair is on the look-out for a “heavyweight” candidate, after an eight-month search to fill the post of c

TBWA has been searching for a chairman to head its UK group operations, it has emerged. It is thought that TBWA Europe president Paul Bainsfair is on the look-out for a “heavyweight” candidate, after an eight-month search to fill the post of chief executive at creative agency TBWA/London ended with an internal promotion.

The role of UK chairman is currently covered by Bainsfair. The network’s UK group operations currently include TBWA/London, BDH/TBWA, direct arm Tequila, content division Stream and digital specialist agency.com.

Several candidates are believed to have been approached, with at least one turning the post down. However, a TBWA spokeswoman has denied that the network is currently looking to fill the post.

Managing director Matt Shepherd-Smith was promoted to chief executive of the creative agency, with executive planning director Neil Dawson taking over as chairman. Several high profile names had been linked with the agency before the pair were promoted.

The two promotions filled the gaps caused by the departure of creative director Trevor Beattie, who left last May with former chief executive Andrew McGuinness and Bil Bungay to form Beattie McGuinness Bungay.

Bainsfair has just presided over the creation of TBWA/Manchester, with the new Tequila/Manchester chairman Martin Kemp promoted to group chairman in an attempt to sell an “integrated” message to staff and clients (MW March 23).

A TBWA/London spokeswoman says: “There are no plans to make any changes.”

TBWA/London has suffered considerable instability, with clients such as Abbey, News Group Newspapers, Ask.com and Thomas Cook taking their business to rival agencies.

However, the agency is believed to be back in the running for broadcaster Five’s creative account, after the incumbent ruled itself out over “creative differences” earlier this year, and it also picked up the $100m (&£57.4m) Etihad airline global account last summer.

The agency has ruled itself out of repitching for frozen food giant McCain’s &£15m business, which it has held for three years, and Adecco, – the international recruitment agency which handed its &£20m European advertising business to the agency four months ago – is already reported to be reviewing its global strategy. The company’s new chairman and chief executive Klaus Jacobs is considering hiring a global agency.

BDH/TBWA, the Manchester-based creative shop, is down to the last two on a Morphy Richards pitch list, while last week Govern-ment-backed organisation The Carbon Trust awarded Tequila/London the below-the-line task for a summer awareness drive.

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