Bates Dorland was this week confronting internal opposition over
its acquisition of a below-the-line consultancy as the catalyst for its
transformation into a single integrated agency.
Senior executives at Bates Communications, the group’s direct marketing
subsidiary, are angry at the purchase of Blue Skies and installation of
its boss, Graham Green, as group vice-chairman.
Graham Hinton, the Bates Dorland chairman, who will head the merged
operation, insisted nobody had threatened to resign. But he conceded:
’There will be fall-out. Change isn’t always popular and some people are
having their noses put out of joint.’
Some Bates Communications staff are said to feel aggrieved that their
operation, one of the group’s biggest success stories since its relaunch
two years ago, is to be subsumed into a single communications company
with one bottom line and board of directors. They are understood to
believe that Marcus Evans, their managing director, should have Green’s
place on the group board.
But Hinton said: ’Although we have some very good people who feel they
have been passed over by bringing in someone else, the fact is that
Graham brings us something we don’t already have. I have never changed
my view about the direction we must take.’
The restructure also involves dropping the Dorland name, which has been
part of the UK ad scene for 94 years.
The group will be rechristened Bates UK and will unite the Bates Dorland
agency, the promotions company, 141 - to be renamed Blue Skies 141 -
Bates Communications and Bates Interactive.
More than 400 of the group’s staff were told of the restructure on
Wednesday morning by Hinton.
He claimed the change was aimed at creating a ’genuinely neutral and
propaganda-free management team’.
’The industry will change more in the next five years than it has done
in the previous 30 and we have to be flexible enough to take advantage
of it,’ Hinton explained.