Between the Lines: FCB in need of a new broom

So John Banks is stepping back after 40 years in the business. Although his experience and good humour will no doubt be missed by his colleagues at FCB, the agency should benefit from the clean slate his departure creates.

FCB London appears to be in a constant state of limbo; it's totally reliant on internationally aligned clients, yet attempts to present itself as local hotshop.

The agency has a relatively junior management team, which over the past 18 months has seen significant pieces of domestic business depart (Waitrose and Weetabix). The agency has fought to replace these account losses with little success. This is the kind of performance that FCB's ailing Interpublic parent can ill afford to let continue.

Steve Blamer, the former Grey Worldwide head of North America, will take the helm of the FCB network in June. The network is in desperate need of a fresh pair of eyes and the challenge facing Blamer will be to modernise FCB and clean out the cobwebs that occupy so many of its corners.

Blamer is ambitious, so is unlikely to shy away from the difficult decisions that lie ahead. One of his first priorities will be the London office.

His task won't be easy. FCB attempted to rejuvenate itself in 1998 by acquiring Banks Hoggins O'Shea. The benefits were short-lived and six years on, the agency still finds itself floundering outside London's top 20.

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