Venables Bell & Partners Hires New Head of Strategy

Michael Davidson joins from Goodby

Venables Bell & Partners has hired veteran planner Michael Davidson to run its strategy department.

Davidson joins Venables after six years at Omnicom's Goodby Silverstein & Partners, where he worked on accounts like Sprint and Xfinity.

At Venables, Davidson's title will be head of strategy. He will oversee day-to-day management of 21 staffers in the agency's strategy department. That role was previously handled by Lucy Farey-Jones, a partner at the agency. Farey-Jones, whose title is executive strategy director, will continue to advise on high-level client strategy, but also shift focus to the agency's own strategy. Davidson reports to Farey-Jones.

Venables clients include Intel, Audi, and Google, as well as Slim Jim and Orville Redenbacher's.

Davidson started his career in 1995 at AMV BBDO, where he worked on Guinness' "Good Things Come to Those Who Wait" campaign. He also worked with Paul Birks-Hay, who is now managing director of Venables.

"Michael is a rare breed; a strategic powerhouse and an inspiring leader who is dedicated to growing talent," said Birks-Hay in a statement.

From 2001 to 2004, Davidson worked his first stint at Goodby, on brands like The Wall Street Journal and Haagen Daaz. From 2004 to 2005, he worked at TBWA\ London, where he counseled Tony Blair on the Labour Party's "If You Value It, Vote For It" strategy.

From 2006 to 2007, he returned to AMV, working on British Telecom, before rejoining Goodby in 2007. At Goodby since, Davidson's Sprint credits included leading strategy on the "Now Network" and "All Together Now" campaigns as a group strategy director. While Sprint left Goodby in late 2011, Davidson more recently worked on campaigns like Xfinity's "Future of Awesome."

Venables has also hired Leander Chapman as a group strategy director. Chapman has worked as planner at agencies including Translation, Grey, M&C Saatchi, Saatchi & Saatchi, and BBDO.

Davidson started at Venables Sept. 30. Chapman started there mid last month.