Cernis walks out on Mellors Reay

Justin Cernis is quitting as new-business director of Mellors Reay and Partners without a new job to go to.

Justin Cernis is quitting as new-business director of Mellors Reay

and Partners without a new job to go to.

The announcement of his resignation follows mounting speculation as to

whether or not he would stay at the agency. It also coincides with a

frustrating period for Mellors Reay, whose recent pitch conversion rate

has been poor despite being shortlisted by some big-spending

advertisers, including Ikea and Direct Line Insurance.

Cernis’s departure also comes in the same week that one of the agency’s

senior creative teams, John Elsom, 30, and his art director Ken Sara,

35, resigned to rejoin Gary Betts and Malcolm Green, the former Mellors

Reay creative directors now heading the creative department at


Cernis found his promotion path blocked when the agency appointed Paul

Richards, the former client services director of Leagas Shafron Davis,

as managing director last summer. The move gave Richards control of the

agency’s internal organisation, allowing its principals, Carol Reay and

Tim Mellors, to build the business and develop its profile.

Cernis, 38, insisted he had no definite job lined up but said he felt

the time was right to leave the agency.

’The Christmas break gave me an opportunity to step back and see what

direction I was taking,’ he added. ’It seemed clear it was time to move

on. Working with Carol and Tim has been a great experience and I’ve

learned a great deal. But this is a critical time in my career and the

next move has to be the right one.’

Cernis joined the then Reay Keating Hamer in October 1994, little more

than six weeks after an overhaul in the new-business operation at

McCann-Erickson left him without a job.

A former commercial artist who once worked in the London Palladium’s

advertising department, he began his agency career at Mallerman

Summerfield before joining Young and Rubicam. He later ran new business

at Ayer and McCanns.

Reay said: ’Justin isn’t sure what he’s going to do but, whatever it is,

he leaves with our goodwill.’