Acrimonious circumstances surround departure

- Justin Hicklin, the client services director of Carlson, has left the company in what are believed to be acrimonious circumstances in order to partner Philip Slade in a start-up agency.

- Justin Hicklin, the client services director of Carlson, has left the company in what are believed to be acrimonious circumstances in order to partner Philip Slade in a start-up agency.

Matthew Brown -- also from Carlson -- will complete the trio heading up the new agency, which is called Hicklin Slade & Partners. Brown was group account director for BT at Carlson. A fourth partner is expected to come on board in the next couple of months, and the staff number is expected to rise to seven in its first year.

Hicklin, who had been at Carlson for eight years and worked on such accounts as BT, United Distillers UK and Buena Vista Home Entertainment UK, declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding his departure, but legal issues are believed to have emerged. A spokesperson from Carlson commented: "Inevitably, in these particular circumstances, contractual issues do arise which we must address."

Hicklin Slade has opened its doors with four clients billing a total of £1.5 million in the first year, according to Slade. These are believed to include a telecoms company, an entertainment group and a drinks firm.

The new agency is pitching itself as "media neutral", and its proposition is to "own moments" in the consumer's life. Slade said: "We want to avoid the 'trendy vicar' syndrome which so often happens when you try to make an established brand young and sexy. Rather than trying to rebrand it, you have to find the moment that the target customer is going to feel warm towards it. Instead of pushing an established soft drink in a club, say, try and push it motorway service stations at 6am when they're driving home."



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