Chaos engulfs RMG Connect

UK chief and European head quit in advance of proposed merger with Sharpen Troughton Owens.

The UK offices of RMG Connect and Sharpen Troughton Owens Response have been thrown into a state of flux with a question-mark now hanging over their proposed merger following the departure of RMG's UK chief executive, Jonathan Harman, and its European head, Nelly Andersen.

It emerged earlier this month that WPP was planning to merge the direct marketing agency STO into RMG Connect. However, the future of the merger looks uncertain, following the key management departures, and is being reconsidered.

The exit of Harman, who is leaving to join Carlson Marketing as the senior vice-president of Europe, leaves RMG Connect's UK office without a chief executive.

"The merger may happen, and it may not happen," Andersen said. The departures cast doubt over the combination of the two companies and their future will not be known for two to three weeks.

Andersen leaves her role as the European head of RMG Connect, where she has been for five years, at the end of October to join OgilvyOne Worldwide. WPP is drafting in Linda Jackson, the head of OgilvyOne in New York, to replace her. Jackson is a long-term WPP employee and was most recently in charge of the international American Express account.

"What we're hoping for now is to find the right leadership for RMG Connect to take it to the next level," Andersen said.

There is as yet no successor for Harman. Andersen ruled out Martin Troughton, a former managing partner of STO. Troughton said last week that he would leave STO following the merger with RMG.

"We will be looking outside the agency (for a replacement)," Andersen said.

In the meantime, Jackson will work closely with the executive creative directors, Guy Bradbury and Lyndon Hales, as well as the rest of the UK senior management team until a new UK chief executive is appointed, a statement from the company said.

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