Between the Lines: JWT handled changes badly

Last week, JWT was adamant that no changes to its management line-up were imminent. This week, it appointed Toby Hoare executive chairman and confirmed Simon Bolton was stepping down as chief executive (page 5).

When you are the UK's second-largest agency, it is not surprising that events sometimes overtake you and plans get leaked. Even so, these changes appear to have been handled particularly badly.

Last Thursday morning, one of JWT's largest clients rang Campaign to ask how sure we were about Bolton's departure. The client was bemused that his agency had not told him before the rest of the world found out.

That is the nature of breaking news, but it suggests JWT's management was naive in the way it handled the changes.

Hoare is a sensible - if unimaginative - hiring. But his appointment alone will not be enough to inject some verve into the UK office. Surely it is time for some bold decisions. Hoare will be hoping his international management now find the resolve to agree.

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