Grey has been rocked by its second senior management resignation
within a month as Carol Reay quit this week as deputy chairman.
Now the group faces possible legal action by Reay, who claims the agency
has not honoured its obligation to make her chairman by 1 April.
The news came in a brief statement issued on Wednesday morning by Reay’s
lawyers, Franks & Co. It said: ’Due to Grey Advertising’s flagrant
breach of Carol Reay’s contract she has today, 14 April 1999, left the
company. Ms Reay is issuing no further statement at the moment on this
Her departure was announced as Roger Edwards, chairman of the Grey
operations in London, continued negotiating his exit having failed to
win a more senior role within the network (Campaign, 26 March).
Reay is believed to have cleared her desk on Tuesday evening in advance
of a letter being delivered to Steve Blamer, the agency’s chief
executive, the following day.
Blamer said: ’I’m shocked at the abrupt and public manner of Carol’s
departure. It didn’t have to be this way.’
Reay’s decision blows a hole in the ’dream team’ that was set to
rejuvenate Grey after its Mellors Reay subsidiary was rolled into the
main agency at the beginning of the year.
The main purpose of the merger was to exploit the pedigree of the
Mellors Reay founding partner, Tim Mellors, who was handed creative
command of Grey with a brief to give the UK agency the creative profile
Reay was never an enthusiastic advocate of the merger. She is said to
have told friends that Grey was less interested in her than in the
critical mass her business would provide.
Grey chiefs were optimistic that Reay and Blamer would form a
complementary partnership. Their hope was that Blamer, a Californian
with limited experience of the UK ad scene, would run the agency while
Reay, a highly regarded industry figure, would be its public face.
But Blamer is thought to have been uncertain about Reay’s commitment to
the restructured agency and to have concluded that one senior figure
should be in charge.
Her departure is bound to raise questions about the effect on morale of
ex-Mellors Reay staffers operating as an ’agency within an agency’, and
on former Mellors Reay clients with whom Reay has strong contacts.
Editor’s comment, p2.