THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 Most surprising exits

1. Anne Francke

Francke's exit mid-way through the Boots pitch served to heighten the drama surrounding an intense battle for one of the year's most significant pieces of business. The strategic marketing director's shock dismissal by Boots' recently appointed chief executive, Richard Baker, was described as part of a management shake-up. Insiders predicted sparks would fly between Francke and Baker from the outset.

2. Tim Lindsay

One of the last remaining members of the Lowe "old guard", Lindsay called time on his 12-year relationship with the agency despite having no job to go to. His decision to quit also brought to a close a professional partnership with Jerry Judge that had spanned more than two decades.

3. Amy Smith

Smith and her team have stabilised Wieden & Kennedy and produced one of the ads of the year (decade, even) in Honda's "cog", so it surprised the advertising world when the managing director announced plans to go back to her native Melbourne. With her second baby on the way, Smith described the decision as a "life" rather than a "career" choice. Hers will be hard shoes to fill.

4. Tony Ball

Few anticipated the resignation of the chief executive at BSkyB, one of the country's biggest profit-making companies, earlier this year. The announcement that media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 30-year-old son James was proposed as his successor proved to be slightly less of a shock given Murdoch's dynastic style.

5. Ben Langdon

This exit really had it all: drama, shock value and rumours that would run for weeks and weeks afterwards. Among the bizarre reasons given for Langdon's ousting was the fact he had wanted his name above the door. It turned out to be true and it appears his suggestion helped to convince McCann-Erickson's worldwide chairman and chief executive, John Dooner, that it was time for Langdon to step down.

6. Amanda Walsh

Walsh was the public face of Walsh Trott Chick Smith for many years, but the chief executive made it clear she wanted a change of direction after running the agency for eight years. It seems holding a front-line position that would prove too much for a normal person to deal with for a month, yet alone eight years, finally did just that.

7. Frank Lowe

It had to end one day, but it was still a shock when Lowe & Partners' founder, Frank Lowe, retired from the agency he started after 22 years.

8. Robert Campbell

Campbell's decision to leave Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R once his earn-out had expired raised only the odd eyebrow. He had been the favourite out of the four partners to depart first, but nobody knew about the courting Rupert Howell had been conducting behind the scenes. Campbell is about to join Howell's dream team at McCann-Erickson, but without Mark Roalfe, his partner of 23 years.

9. Nick Worthington

Worthington had never worked abroad before during a 19-year career, hence nobody could have predicted his choice of relocation - Publicis Mojo in Auckland. His appointment as the executive creative director for Australia and New Zealand called time on a seven-year association with Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.

10. Seamus O'Farrell

After two months without putting in an appearance at Soul Advertising, O'Farrell, one of the agency's five founding partners, finally did something people thought he would never do, and packed his bags. He set sail for the shores of Leo Burnett.


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