Close-Up: Newsmaker - Paterson picks new pastures over BA prestige

BBH's loss is very much CHI's gain - Paterson will bring much-needed direction to the creative department.

Ewan Paterson should be feeling pretty good about himself right now. In the past couple of weeks, he has had the pick of two of the best jobs in town: should he stick with being the creative director on one of the hottest accounts of the moment, British Airways, at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, or accept the offer of the new role of executive creative director at one of the UK's hottest agencies, Clemmow Hornby Inge?

Paterson chose the latter. But having only worked at BBH for the past year, he admits the move is not perfectly timed. "I really wasn't looking to leave and being offered the creative directorship on BA was a huge accolade," he explains. "But when opportunities come along, you've got to take them."

His decision reflects a desire to get back into the agency creative director's seat again. His move, in July last year, where he relinquished joint control of DDB London's creative department to focus on copywriting again, had much to do with the premature birth of his twins. "I needed to step back from the front line," he says, adding: "The twins are two now and it was time to reappraise my career. I realised I wanted to be part of running an agency again. You do not realise how much you enjoy doing that until you stop."

So why has he chosen CHI to re-enter the limelight?

"I've always admired CHI's holistic approach to advertising, and they are a brilliant group of people," Paterson says. The feeling seems to be mutual: Charles Inge, CHI's creative partner, admits he has been after Paterson for years and has tried to hire him before. "I have always liked him and he is a talented writer," Inge says. "It is great we have got the job to entice him at last."

Inge has run CHI's creative department since the agency's launch in 2001.

He denies he will step back from the creative process when Paterson joins; Paterson will simply be Inge's right-hand man and will run the department on a day-to-day basis, he explains.

The appointment is part of a continuing investment in talent. "We're strong in planning and account management and now's our chance in creative," Inge says.

Many in the industry will see the appointment as overdue - while it has a fearsome new-business machine, CHI'screative reputation in London is weak. Although a gifted creative, insiders say Inge wasn't a fierce enough department head.

Inge defends his department, flagging up campaigns for clients such as The Daily Telegraph, Tango and Typhoo as examples of strong work. Paterson adds tactfully: "CHI has had such phenomenal new-business success, its creative has always been in the shadow. My challenge is to change this."

And Inge seems to concur. "We have only got ourselves to blame if the work is not good," he says, concluding: "We are in a position to show off creatively, and we want to be up there with the best agencies in the world."

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