MPG’s Champniss Set to Depart

NEW YORK Guy Champniss, global director of branded entertainment at Havas media agency MPG, is leaving the shop at the end of August, sources said. It could not be immediately determined if he would be replaced.

Champniss joined MPG in April 2005 in what was then a new position to oversee MPG Entertainment and several other content-related units.

Last year, Champniss launched a global content development unit called B6. It was designed to replace MPG Entertainment in some markets and work alongside it in others to create branded programming for current and prospective clients.

Sources said Champniss, a British TV producer who worked at the BBC for seven years, believed he could create an entity to compete with established firms like Mark Burnett Productions (Survivor, The Apprentice) and develop shows with broad appeal and ample opportunities for brand integration.

Champniss told Adweek last December that he intended to establish a New York office by the spring of this year. But he had trouble finding qualified candidates willing to take on the assignment, and plans for a B6 presence in New York were put on hold a few months ago, sources said. (MPG Entertainment’s U.S. arm remains based in New York.)

However, some within Havas believe that Champniss’ plans were too ambitious. “Grandiose might be an understatement,” said one source familiar with the plans.

Champniss also indicated that he intended to open a B6 office in Los Angeles and establish a presence in India, Chile, Mexico and China sometime this year. It was not clear how far along those plans had advanced. B6 does have offices in France, Spain, Portugal, Germany and Argentina.

Sources said Champniss would return to the broadcast business, but he could not be reached for comment. MPG officials in New York referred calls to a rep in London, who could not be reached.