CLOSE-UP: LIVE ISSUE/BELFORD AND ROBERTS - Francesca Newland asks if AMV is wise to hire Paul Belford and Nigel Roberts

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's decision to stand by its hiring of Nigel Roberts and Paul Belford despite revelations that the team had cheated in the Campaign Press Awards has inspired a healthy debate.

Given the pair's very public lambasting and the agency's close ties with COI Communications (whose awards entry the team doctored substantially), their appointment is a brave move. Below, agency chief executives and creative directors say whether or not they would have hired the team.

Garry Lace, the chief executive of TBWA/London, says: "Absolutely not. The fact that they are cheats is one of the many reasons I wouldn't hire them."

Dave Droga, the executive creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi, says: "Yes I would. They've had the most severe punishment as their integrity has been called into question. They're incredibly talented and we need to keep talented people in the business."

Mark Wnek, the executive creative director of Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, says: "Yes. They're a brilliant press team and because they are the pioneers of being outed for this they have borne the brunt of the criticism for it, which will have taught them a lesson. They'll be a warning for everyone forever, which is punishment enough. They do brilliant work, whether or not it's award-winning is not the issue."

Robert Campbell, the joint executive creative director of Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, says: "No. They're not our kind of team. The issue's not that they've cheated, but that they displayed an attitude that wouldn't fit here. It's possible to get a talented team that has more respect for the department and for clients. They're not team players and I don't think we're their kind of people as much as they're not ours. It would have been sad if they'd dropped out because they're extremely talented, and I'm glad AMV BBDO has hired them."

Tim Delaney, the creative director of Leagas Delaney, says: "They're not inherently immoral. Most have tried it at some point, but the others just haven't got caught. People shouldn't be sanctimonious about it. They were pretty stupid, they over-stepped the mark and someone spotted it. Would I hire them as talents? Yes. Would I want them to do that here? No."

Luke White, the executive creative director of McCann-Erickson, says: "Yes. They're talented. The awards thing was unfortunate, but that has to do with the management of the agency they work for."

Mark Lund, the chief executive of Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners, says: "I wouldn't. Not because they're not talented but because the degree of opprobrium around them will take a while to die down."

Paul Briginshaw, the creative director of Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy, says: "Yes. I wouldn't have any problems. You're allowed to make mistakes. They shouldn't have done it but let's all learn from it and move on."

Tim Mellors, the creative director of Grey, says: "Yes; there are not that many good people around."

Nick Hastings, the creative director at D'Arcy, says: "Yes, because they're one of the best teams in London and no-one died. It was obviously wrong and one hopes they have learned from their mistake."

Leon Jaume, the creative director of WCRS, says: "I don't know because I've never met them."

Steve Henry, the creative director at HHCL & Partners, says: "My initial response is that I wouldn't, but I don't know them that well. Cheating is something we've never done in this agency. I'm surprised at how many people are saying this kind of thing goes on all the time. I've never seen it first hand. The bonus scheme they were on seems really stupid. It questions the role of awards and begs the question are we losing sight of our role being producing creative work that works for clients."


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