Trevor Beattie, Andrew McGuinness and Bil Bungay have resigned from TBWA\London to launch a start-up called Beattie McGuinness Bungay.
The departure of the respective chairman and creative director, chief executive and deputy creative director cuts a swathe through the agency.
Beattie said: "This is the toughest decision I have ever had to make. TBWA has been my life for 15 years."
However, Paul Bainsfair, TBWA's president of Europe, has acted swiftly to fill the vacuum left by the three resignations: Danny Brooke-Taylor and Tony McTear have been promoted to the positions of joint creative directors, while Bainsfair will resume his role as the chairman and chief executive of TBWA\London on top of his European president duties. Matt Shepherd-Smith will continue to handle the day-to-day running of TBWA as its managing director.
Bainsfair said: "We're sorry to say goodbye to these guys, in particular Trevor, whose contribution to the success of TBWA\London over the past ten years has been outstanding. We wish them every success for the future."
Beattie stressed that the resignations were not linked to recent account losses. This March, Abbey moved its £22 million business into WCRS, while News Group Newspapers announced a review of its £20 million account, without inviting TBWA to repitch. No clients have yet announced they will follow the departing executives into the start-up.
The launch has been timed to coincide with the general election and the end of the TBWA-created Labour Party campaign. Both Beattie and McGuinness worked on the campaign and were keen to see it through before making any announcement.
Beattie McGuinness Bungay has been financed by its three founders. Beattie said it would differ from the traditional agency model, with plans to involve clients in branded entertainment projects and events such as his West End burlesque show.
- Perspective, page 23.