Andrew Cracknell is returning to take creative command of Bates UK
- exactly five years after quitting the agency over an acrimonious
His reappointment to the job where he enjoyed his biggest career
successes almost a decade ago coincides with the departure of Jay
Pond-Jones after a less than happy 20 months as executive creative
Pond-Jones has chosen to quit the group after rejecting the offer of a
move to New York to become deputy to the Bates Worldwide creative
director, John Fawcett.
The changes are bound to raise question marks over the long-term future
of Graham Hinton, the Bates UK chairman, who appointed Pond-Jones and who
has staked his reputation on a radical agency restructure that has
provoked the resignations of a number of senior directors.
Meanwhile, there has been mounting concern at the failure to convert
pitches and Bates is known to have approached senior industry figures
about a job at the London agency.
The immediate task for Cracknell, 52, who takes over next week, will be
to stabilise a creative department hit by a number of senior departures,
boost its pitch conversion rate, secure the creative succession and
restore Bates’ reputation for what Hinton called ’big populist brand
But Cracknell, who spent almost two years as chairman of Ammirati Puris
Lintas after leaving Bates, insisted this week he had no desire to
resume the role of chairman. ’I’ve found I’m no good at it,’ he said. ’I
want to concentrate on caring for the creative department. I don’t want to
wear two hats.’
Pond-Jones is said to have impressed the agency’s senior managers with
his creative talent but there was concern that his retiring personality
might be affecting the outcome of pitches.
Cracknell’s return unites him with key personnel including John
Stubbings, the chief executive, and John Ward, the vice-chairman, both
pivotal in the agency’s renaissance of the late 80s.
’I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to go back,’ Cracknell
’The agency is a different place and I’m different. It has lost some
highly profitable accounts through no fault of its own and I certainly
don’t believe it is letting down its clients.’