School Reports 2011: Profero

There was some interesting manoeuvring behind the scenes at Profero during 2010.

Recent Profero work: Mini
Recent Profero work: Mini

Score: 5

Agency fact file: Profero
Type of agency Full-service digital
Company ownership Independent
Key personnel Dale Gall UK chief executive
  Matt Everitt managing director, Profero London
  Elspeth Lynn executive creative director
  Ross Jenkins managing director, Profero Performance
  David da Silva managing director, Profero Connect
Declared income £7m (Jan-Nov 2010)
Total accounts at year end 28
Accounts won 12 (biggest: Marks & Spencer)
Accounts lost 6 (biggest: Johnson's Baby)
Number of staff 90 (+12.5%)

In June, it was announced that the founder Daryl Arnold was leaving the agency to start a business in Singapore. However, according to the company's accounts released later in the year, Arnold departed after details emerged of an unauthorised investment of £825,000 via a Profero subsidiary in 2009. When the board, which includes Arnold's brother Wayne, became aware of the deal, they agreed to treat it as a loan to Arnold and he then stepped down as a director of the company.

Boardroom shenanigans aside, there were other comings and goings at the agency. At the end of 2010, it emerged that the chief executive Nick Blunden was leaving to take up a senior role at The Economist. This left Profero with the task of rebuilding its management team just months after Blunden had been promoted to the role and Matt Everitt had arrived from SapientNitro as the managing director.

Following Blunden's departure, Dale Gall, the agency's global planning director and a former VCCP managing partner, was promoted to the role of UK chief executive. With Wayne Arnold attempting to grow Profero overseas, Gall and his team must convince the market here that there remains a role for a full-service agency that can deliver strong work across channels.

To be fair, Profero delivered this in 2010 with award-winning work for Mini Countryman and Post-it. But its new-business record was up and down: it lost business from clients such as Channel 4 and Johnson & Johnson, although the capture of accounts including Marks & Spencer and Pepsi compensated for this.

In 2011, Profero should aim for management stability and must hope that a sufficient proportion of clients continue to buy into its specialism.

Score last year: 6

How Profero rates itself: 7

"In 2010, we created a fresh senior leadership team in the UK under which we had tremendous new client wins, including Pepsi and Marks & Spencer, for whom we are transforming their digital presence; and we continued to deliver better, bolder work for existing clients, such as our "phygital" first for Mini Countryman and the World Record Attempt. Our full-service offering also added more muscle with Profero London, Profero Connect and Profero Performance all growing strongly."

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