Anyone who has tried to book a table at Assaggi in West London will
know the familiar feeling of waiting on the phone for ten minutes only
to be told that there are no tables free for another six weeks.
But if you work in the Bates group, think twice before eating there -
especially if your lunch date is a Campaign hack. For what had started
off as a couple of coincidences has turned into a particularly insidious
It began in late 1997, when Campaign’s acting deputy editor, John Tylee,
had lunch at Assaggi with the then managing director of Bates Dorland,
Chris Clark. Unfortunately, just weeks later, Clark was sent to New York
in a reshuffle.
A one-off mishap? Sadly, no. The Tylee curse continued with an ill-fated
Assaggi lunch with the former creative director Tim Ashton, just weeks
before the sun set on his career at 141 Westbourne Terrace.
The poisoned baton was then passed on to Campaign’s Direct editor,
Eleanor Trickett. A dinner at Assaggi with the chairman of 141
Communications, Peter Crossing, was followed by his resignation a
fortnight later. Then lunch with the managing director of Bates
Communications, Karl Schuster, led to his resignation the following
week. Finally, Zenith Media’s Yvonne Scullion was Trickett’s third
victim, resigning weeks after their lunch.
Andrew Cracknell, now Bates UK’s executive creative director, had lunch
with Tylee a fortnight ago. We suggest you start sending your CVs to
Toby Hoare now.