- Lansdown Conquest and its chief executive, Bill Patterson, are parting company and control of the agency is being passed to a triumverate of his senior hirings.
The WPP-owned shop confirmed this week that Patterson -- known for his aggressive management style -- was bowing out after four years to be succeeded by Julian Saunders, 40, currently managing and planning director.
He will run the agency alongside John Wringe, 41, and Simon Frank, 39, who will be managing and creative partners respectively.
The departure of Patterson, 44, who joined Lansdown in July 1994 from Ogilvy & Mather Media, where he was managing director, brings down the curtain on a less-than-easy period for the agency which has endured a high staff turnover. It is understood he will not be offered a job elsewhere within WPP.
"Bill is a lone operator and his 'big leader' style isn't necessarily in line with the kind of new wave agency that Lansdown aspires to be," said one industry source.
Another said: "Bill ran the place as his personal fiefdom."
At the same time, Patterson is understood to have had a cool relationship with Luca Lindner, the Italian chief executive of the Conquest network and key manager on its flagship Alfa Romeo account.
This week Patterson was putting a brave face on the split. He said: "While I believe that the time has come for me to take on a new challenge, the existing management team is in an ideal position to continue the agency's development."
Linder praised Patterson's "good job in getting Landsown to where it is today" adding: "He leaves the agency in good shape with an excellent client base and a very talented team in place."
None of the new team have been with the £65 million-billing agency, ranked 42nd in the UK, for more than three years. Frank joined in 1995 from Euro RSCG and Saunders arrived the following year from O&M. Wringe, the former Publicis client services director, moved to the agency in June.