Poulters top staff stage an exodus

Four of the senior executives who negotiated the management buyout that led to the creation of Poulter Partners two years ago - including the chairman, Richard Lewis - are quitting the Leeds agency.

Four of the senior executives who negotiated the management buyout

that led to the creation of Poulter Partners two years ago - including

the chairman, Richard Lewis - are quitting the Leeds agency.



Lewis exits along with his wife, Alison Brand, who is the managing

partner for advertising specialism, the executive creative director Pete

Camponi and Mike Smith, the finance chief.



Within a day of the announcement there was further upheaval at the

pounds 37 million-billing shop when Rick Ward and Maria Prchlik, the

joint creative directors, said they were also leaving because of their

reported unhappiness with the changing culture.



Lewis’s replacement is Gary McCall, the head of the sales promotion and

direct marketing division, who becomes group managing director.



His appointment has prompted claims that Poulters, whose major clients

include McCain Foods, the Morrison supermarket chain and the

housebuilder Redrow, will shift emphasis towards its more successful

below-the-line activity.



The departure of Lewis, 52, has also led to his resignation as chairman

of the Northern IPA only a year into his three-year term of office.



Although Lewis and Brand leave with no jobs to go to, McCall denied

speculation that the group was being taken over by its below-the-line

divisions and that the resignations were a means of cutting

overheads.



’There has been no coup,’ McCall said. ’The decision by Richard and the

others is entirely their own.’ Lewis condemned the suggestions as

’mischief-making’ and said he had no plans for a start-up.



The management changes culminate what have been contrasting fortunes for

the group since the management buyout.



While the company’s sales promotion division has prospered, its

conversion rate in above-the-line pitches has been disappointing.



However, McCall insisted the agency’s above-the-line new-business record

was improving.



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