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.’