Breaking: Saatchi UK’s Interactive Team Diminishes

By Matt Van Hoven 

We hear that Saatchi & Saatchi in the UK has let go 22 addies from its interactive team &#151 out of 25. We haven’t been able to confirm this number, but the alleged whittling has been attributed to Tom Eslinger (the chap in the above photo), who is the agency’s worldwide creative director for interactive.

“(Eslinger) has alienated, bullied and demoralised the UK Interactive team to the extent that every senior member of the team has left, citing him as the problem,” said our spy.

According to his company bio, he “spearheads Saatchi & Saatchi’s fast-growing worldwide interactive capability.” Ironic, considering that in just one year since taking the reigns of S&SUK’s interactive, he’s slashed the majority of the department.

More after the jump.

Highlights of his tenure as leader of Interactive in London (allegedly) include:

Causing a female business leader (recovering from a series of operations) to walk out after he swore at her in front of several startled witnesses.

Faking work for Cannes Lions entries (including an interactive billboard for Battersea Dogs Home that hadn’t been built when the entry was submitted and ultimately had to be canned when it failed to work properly).

Causing so much work to be late though contradictory feedback (usually via Blackberry) and staff attrition that Visa and T-Mobile have threatened to pull all interactive work from the agency
His crowning acheivement, however, is to have driven away almost the entire team he inherited.

Yet the HR dept at Saatchi & Saatchi have refused to act – despite several members of staff complaining about bizarre behaviour and bullying – and he continues to act with impunity. Could it be possible that the ‘gunslinger’ is merely the hitman for a program of cheap down-sizing by the financially-stricken agency? Or is the fact that he has the ear of Bob Ischerwood scared the bejesus out of the UK management team?