Changes continue at West, the consultancy founded by former Apple CMO Allison Johnson with support from Twitter/Square chief Jack Dorsey.*
In January, multiple sources confirmed that most of the shop’s creative, production and planning team members had departed in a round of downsizing. We wouldn’t report on West–which Johnson herself described as “strategy and creative accelerator“–so regularly, but its executives keep leaving for other gigs.
Now chief operating officer and chief financial officer Simon Phipps has departed.
Phipps is a veteran strategist who has spent more than 10 years with the design/innovation consultancy IDEO–a clear West progenitor–in London and San Francisco/New York. Last month he officially left West to serve as “advising CFO” at Bay Area shop Neato and launch his own consultancy called HMSS.
Multiple sources also tell us that chief creative officer Jordan Crane is no longer with West, but we can’t confirm that at this time.
Sources claim that some of the recent changes stem from Jawbone’s decision to move its business elsewhere, but client reps declined to comment this week on rumors that it would be seeking a new agency partner.
*There’s still some debate over Dorsey’s relationship with the shop. PR for Square reached out to comment on our last post about West, noting that Dorsey never played any role in its day to day operations…yet Schipps’ own profile lists Dorsey as one of its founders along with Johnson and Ray Chambers, a private equity veteran who is currently the United Nations’ Special Envoy for Financing the Health MDGs and for Malaria.
In another interesting twist on the West story, a late 2015 tax filing covered by Business Insider revealed that both of Dorsey’s other companies had paid millions of dollars to the consultancy. Not only did Square pay West for its consulting services, the shop also purchased 375,000 shares of Square stock. Twitter also paid more than $2 million for such services between 2011 and 2013.
Twitter named TBWA\Chiat\Day as its advertising agency of record in late 2015, and the shop parted ways with the account’s creative leader in January after its first campaign debuted during last year’s World Series.
On a final note, it would appear that West was one of the few San Francisco agencies to avoid hiring “The Griz” in recent months.