Craik Jones and Proximity heads leave ahead of merger

Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel chief executive Mike Welsh is leaving the agency ahead of its merger into Proximity to take the same role at Publicis Dialog. Proximity chief executive Amanda Phillips (pictured) has also resigned without a job to go to.

Welsh, who had been at the Omnicom-owned Craik Jones for just six months, replaces Dennis Kerslake, Publicis Dialog chairman, who is moving to head Publicis’ Citi account across Europe, Middle East and Asia.

The move is the first major hiring for Publicis UK group chairman and chief executive Nigel Jones, who joined at the end of August. The two worked together at Claydon Heeley Jones Mason, now Claydon Heeley, the direct marketing agency that Jones co-founded.

Omnicom decided to fold Craik Jones into Proximity, keeping the Proximity name, last month following a string of departures and account losses at the agency.

It was not invited to repitch for the Boots account and last month lost the integrated busienss for American-based clothing retailer Gap to Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw without a pitch (MW August 14).

Phillips joined Proximity as business development director in 2004. The agency has confirmed it is looking externally to fill the chief executive vacancy, with Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO group chief executive, Cilla Snowball, taking a more hands-on approach at Proximity in the interim.

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