CHI leads creation of holding company

CHI & Partners and its affiliates have formed a holding company called The&Partnership that is backed by WPP.

Johnny Hornby:  global chief executive of The&Partnership (photo: Colin Stout)
Johnny Hornby: global chief executive of The&Partnership (photo: Colin Stout)

The new holding company comprises nine agencies that will share profits. The group spans ten disciplines: advertising, design, CRM, media, data, analytics, PR, social, digital and product creation.

The&Partnership will be majority owned by the founders of the group’s composite agencies. WPP, which acquired a 49.9 per cent stake in CHI & Partners in 2007, will be a partner and a significant minority shareholder.

Johnny Hornby, a founding partner at CHI & Partners, will lead The&Partnership as global chief executive. CHI & Partners’ managing partner Peter Walker will be the chief financial officer, while Christian Hinchcliffe, the agency’s global chief marketing officer, will take the same job at the holding company.

It has also been reported that BBDO’s North America chairman Andrew Bailey has joined The&Partnership as its North America chief executive.

The name of the new holding company is rooted in the founders’ belief that it will offer clients the best of both worlds – the entrepreneurship and agility of independent agencies and the might of an established group.

Hornby said: "Traditionally, entrepreneurs start businesses, build them up, sell them and disappear after their earn-outs. In our new model, the entrepreneurs and founders stay involved and share ownership amongst each other and with their senior partners.

"Not unlike the law firm model, we are owner-drivers who realise that to develop truly modern campaigns, it isn’t a baton-passing exercise. It’s about senior experts across disciplines working together. Having one bottom line removes the politics and nonsense that holds back so many of our competitive traditional networks."

The&Partnership has more than 1,400 staff spread across 23 offices in 17 countries.

The group comprises: the ad agencies CHI&Partners and Bates CHI & Partners; the media agency network M/SIX; the CRM and digital agency Rapier; the social media agency The Social Practice; the creative innovation practice Matter; The Box, which offers clients a bespoke agency service; a new data service, and the PR agency Halpern, in which CHI & Partners acquired a 50.1 per cent stake last month.

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