Creative Duo Unhappy With Support From U.K. Parent
NEW YORK–M&C Saatchi president Brent Bouchez and executive creative director David Page resigned from their posts last Friday, said executive chairman Robert Fletcher. The newly installed head of the agency, who arrived three months ago to jumpstart new business, said he intends to replace the team shortly.
Fletcher characterized the departure of Bouchez and Page as “amicable.” The creative team’s replacements will be identified within the next week or two.
The creative team, hired by the U.K.-based agency’s office here nearly two years ago to bolster its U.S. operations, left “due to philosophical differences with the U.K. partners,” Fletcher said.
Bouchez and Page were known to have become increasingly frustrated throughout their tenure by London’s lack of support for the U.S. operation, sources said.
Since Bouchez and Page joined the agency from Ammirati Puris Lintas, its new business record has been lackluster. The highlight of their stint was the $12 million Rally’s Hamburgers account win last year. That business was recently consolidated at Crispin Porter & Bogusky in Miami, which already handles sister company Checkers Drive-In Restaurants.
In addition, the fledgling $100 million agency has yet to reverse its perception as simply a British Airways service shop.
Bouchez, in particular, felt saddled with administrative duties he was not accustomed to performing. M&C founding partner Bill Muirhead had been shuttling between London and New York as part of his global duties, and that arrangement left the New York office with fractured account management support.
Fletcher, a Saatchi & Saatchi veteran with stints in Hong Kong and Frankfurt, was brought in to add consistency and to guide new business efforts with the intent of allowing Bouchez and Page to focus more on the creative side. The move, however, was apparently not enough to remedy the situation, sources said.
M&C Saatchi clients, including Packard Bell and Shady Brook Farms, were briefed on the changes last week. Fletcher also said he expected to soon add new creative talent on the flagship British Airways account.
Sources said Page might take up a top creative post at Ogilvy & Mather here. Ogilvy has accounts such as American Express and IBM, brands in categories where Page has experience. Page and Bouchez were instrumental in APL’s landing the Compaq and MasterCard accounts in the early 1990s. Ogilvy declined comment.
“There are a lot of cards on the table and we’re entertaining possibilities,” said Bouchez. The pair plan to continue working together. –with Justin Dini
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