Departing McCann Erickson chief executive Stephen Whyte has ruled out another job in advertising, and says he is planning to launch a business start-up.
Whyte, whose departure was exclusively revealed on marketingweek.co.uk this week, wants to devote time to developing his new project, which he says is “definitely not an ad agency, but within the marketing services sphere”, with a view to launching later this year.
In an exclusive interview, he says his decision to leave is not connected with Brett Gosper joining as president of McCann Group EMEA and UK chairman in September, quashing rumours to the contrary. “I have been trying to develop this [project] for a long time,” says Whyte.
He joined McCann Erickson in 2002 as European client services director, and was promoted to chief executive of the London agency in 2004 by the former network regional director Rupert Howell. Previously, Whyte was chief executive of Leo Burnett, but left in 2001. He has also worked at Leagas Delaney and Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO.
He is thought to have turned down a number of consultant and freelance offers since announcing his departure earlier this week.
McCann Erickson has promoted managing director Chris Macdonald to replace Whyte. Macdonald has been with the Interpublic-owned agency since 2005, becoming managing director in 2006.
Gosper was drafted in from McCann Erickson USA to replace Howell, who announced his departure in April last year. Howell is now ITV managing director of brand and commercial.