WPP has folded United London after merger talks with sister agency Grey London collapsed. The beleaguered agency, which was formerly known as HHCL/Red Cell, has been under increasing pressure since losing its two biggest clients, BSkyB and Alfa Romeo, late last year.
United London joint managing partners Jim Kelly and Robert Campbell are both leaving the group. It is understood that Kelly is negotiating his gardening leave and that Campbell, who has been linked to the creative director role at sister WPP agency JWT, has been on extended leave.
The move will see United’s remaining clients, which include the COI, News International-owned thelondonpaper and several brands owned by tissue company Georgia-Pacific, transfer into Grey.
The agency will now handle the advertising for the Food Standards Agency and an anti-binge drinking brief from the Home Office and Department of Health. COI will allow the agency to work on the account but it will not be invited to pitch for other business.
Thelondonpaper general manager Ian Clark says that it is not "actively" reviewing its advertising account.
A number of Grey London staff are in discussions with Grey over joining the agency including United deputy managing director Rhona Cairns and Richard Huntington, planning director. Meanwhile, Grey has announced that planning director John Lowery is being moved into a undisclosed role at Grey Europe, Middle East & Africa.