Grey London chief Patton poaches TBWA planning boss

Grey London new chief executive David Patton has poached TBWA/London executive planning director Neil Hourston to join the agency in the same role. Hourston will replace John Lowery, who left the agency in April after two years there.

The move marks the first senior hiring by Patton, who joined the agency earlier this month from Sony. Patton replaced Tamara Ingram, who moved to run WPP’s Procter & Gamble business globally earlier this year.

Hourston, who has previously worked with Patton on the Sony Playstation account, is understood to have already tendered his resignation at TBWA. It is understood that TBWA head of planning Tom Morton, who has been handling the PlayStation business alongside agency chief executive Matt Shepherd-Smith, is likely to take over the role.

Hourston, formerly head of planning, was promoted to deputy managing director, alongside Victoria Davies in 2005. Davies and Hourston were subsequently promoted as joint managing directors, and Hourston was later promoted to executive planning director. Davies has since left the agency too.

Both Grey and TBWA/ London declined to comment as Marketing Week went to press.

Meanwhile, Patton has already been trying to enhance the image of Grey London and recently announced the launch of a new word-of-mouth agency through a partnership with Wildfire. He says it is the first in a series of strategic developments that aim to improve the agency’s non-traditional offering (MW September 20).

The partnership means that the two agencies will work closely together to engage with their clients’ customers using social networks and communities.

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