New PHD has launched the first stage of a major restructure as its chairman, Ken New, prepares to step down at the end of the year.
The agency is acquiring Partners BDDH's stake in their strategic planning joint venture MSc to beef up its strategic credentials and is now preparing to appoint a new chairman.
New, who is 55, will remain a non-executive director of New PHD. He will also continue as the chairman of the poster company Outdoor Connection and the outdoor industry research organisation Postar.
New's replacement as chairman is likely to be an internal appointment, sources suggest. New will step down after honouring his contract to stay for a set period, following Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's acquisition of the agency in May 1996.
New joined from AMV where he was the vice-chairman. He is a media industry veteran and in 1988 was voted top media man by Campaign.
New said: 'My decision to step down coincides with my being 55 - I thought it was a good time to do it. I just wanted to create space and time to do a few other things.'
The acquisition of Partners BDDH's 50 per stake in MSc brings the strategic planning unit under the full ownership of New PHD. The outfit will be renamed Partners PHD and will be brought into New PHD's building, allowing the latter greater access to MSc's managing director, Louise Jones, and managing partner, Daren Rubins. Partners PHD will retain MSc's clients.
The acquisition comes three months after New PHD lost three of its key strategic managers - Jon Wilkins, Will Collin and the head of Rocket, John Harlow - to Naked.