BBH seeks media strategist as it looks to sell Starcom

LONDON - Bartle Bogle Hegarty is on the hunt for an in-house media strategist as it prepares to cut its ties with the media agency Starcom Motive.

The agency has approached a number of senior figures in the media industry about the position of communications planner, although it has yet to commit itself to making any appointment.

BBH is believed to be looking at candidates who have long and established media planning backgrounds, and who have a working knowledge of how creative agencies are run.

The initiative is thought to be the brainchild of the BBH founder and chief executive, Nigel Bogle. Any successful candidate will be expected to provide strategic expertise on campaigns for clients such as Levi's, Microsoft Xbox, Audi and Interbrew. However, no one at the agency would comment on the move.

BBH is the latest in a number of agencies looking to improve their in-house media capalities. Publicis appointed Unity's Derek Morris last spring and the appointment of Hal Pearson last year saw Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy take strategy in-house. Clemmow Hornby Inge is setting up Naked Inside to provide media consultancy for its clients.

BBH is close to selling its remaining stake in the Starcom Motive Partnership to Publicis Groupe. Publicis owns the majority stake in Starcom, following its purchase of the Bcom3 network in autumn 2002.

Any buyout would remove one of the barriers preventing a merger of the resources of Starcom Motive and its sister agency, MediaVest, which is wholly owned by the Publicis Groupe. The Starcom MediaVest Group was established as a holding company for both networks in 2000.

The agencies have been merged under the Starcom name in every market it operates in except the US and the UK. A merged UK business would be likely to retain two operating units.

For BBH, selling its stake in Starcom Motive would make available funds that would enable the agency to further its global expansion programme.

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