Bartle Bogle Hegarty has suffered a serious loss to its management
line-up after five of its senior directors, including the executive
creative director, Bruce Crouch, quit to launch a rival agency.
Crouch will be joined by Duncan Bird, BBH’s group business director, who
runs the agency’s One2One account; Seamus O’Farrell, the group business
director on Whitbread, and Andy Bird, head of design. All four have
resigned and will leave BBH at the end of this month.
They will be joined by Kevin Brown, the media director at Starcom
Motive, a media arm of BCOM3 and BBH’s ultimate parent company.
John Hegarty, BBH’s group chairman and worldwide creative director, is
returning from New York to take over Crouch’s responsibilities in the
short term until a permanent replacement is found. Sources say this is
likely to be John O’Keefe, another of BBH’s creative directors.
Nigel Bogle, BBH’s chairman, said that ’virtually all other
replacements’ would come from within the agency but said he may also
need to recruit from outside.
The start-up, the most significant in BBH’s 18-year history, will be
wholly owned by the five founding partners. It has yet to be given a
name but will open for business at offices on Brewer Street in London
early next month.
Duncan Bird confirmed that the breakaway - which has echoes of BBH’s
emergence from TBWA where John Bartle, Nigel Bogle and John Hegarty won
legions of awards before resigning to set up their own agency - is in
negotiations with two potential clients, unconnected to BBH. Each
partner will work out a six-month contract which prevents them from
seeking to attract BBH clients during that time.
Bird said the agency’s structure would be markedly different.
’Traditionally the creative department is isolated from account handling
and planning departments, with media in a separate building.’
He added: ’Our creative teams will comprise a creative director,
designers off- and online, a communications account handler and a
planner. The team will work together to create whatever message is
appropriate for whatever media for our clients.’
Bird confirmed that he had been in talks with media buying shops but
that no specific link had yet been agreed.
The start-up was announced to the agency on Wednesday morning by Bogle,
who said: ’I won’t pretend that BBH will not be poorer without them. We
wish them great success in their venture and I can do nothing but admire
people who take the plunge and have a go on their own.’