CDD Testa to shut as founders walk

LONDON - The founding partners of CDD Testa are walking away from the deal with the Italian network after less than three weeks in business.

Walter Campbell, Sean Doyle, Dave Dye and Marco Testa issued a joint statement on Wednesday announcing that they will abort their plans to launch a London partnership under the CDD Testa name. Testa was to have kept a 55 per cent stake in the London office and the partners were to have shared the remaining 45 per cent.

A statement on the closure read: "In the light of recent events in foreign politics and the destabilisation of markets around the world in this uncertain period, Testa has decided not to continue with an investment plan as important as this in the medium to long term."

Marco Testa, the chairman and chief executive of Testa, said: "This decision will not affect the existing Armando Testa operations in Europe and we wish CDD well." At the time of the agency opening its doors, he said: "I am convinced this will be a success. We're here to do business - but we'll do it our way." Testa's clients include Pirelli, Lavazza and Di Saronno.

Dye said: "We have great respect for Testa and share a belief in creative excellence. However, we feel that given the current circumstances, the time is not right to align ourselves with each other. We have the same confidence as we had before this and will be doing it with or without outside backing. We will start talking to other potential investors and continue pitching for business."

CDD Testa was unveiled in July vowing to be known as "a small European agency of quality". Its founding team consisted of three of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's elite creatives - Campbell, Dye and Doyle - and Caspar Thykier, AMV's new-business director and a board account director on Guinness. They were joined by the Lowe Lintas planning director, Alison Hoad, and Stefan Hohmann, an account director at Leagas Delaney.

All six founding partners of CDD have declared their intention to remain together as a team and to look at all possible options from self-funding to finding a new backer. They left the Testa offices after a crisis meeting on Wednesday and have, as yet, no new premises. It is understood that they remain on the Gordon's Gin pitchlist but leave with no actual business.

Testa is Italy's undisputed number one creative agency, but has been dogged by problems in trying to get into the London market. In 1992 it formed Simons Testa - a joint venture with Simons Palmer Denton Clemmow Johnson - but the partnership collapsed in 1995. In 1999 Testa opened a London office, later relaunched as CDD Testa. It is believed that Testa's London office will close as a result of this week's news.