So, it’s Paul Shearer out and Andy McKay and Chris Herring in at
Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper. Shearer, one of the agency’s deputy creative
directors, resigned last week to return to the account he loves, Nike,
only this time he’ll be working for Wieden & Kennedy in Amsterdam.
McKay and Herring will move up from deputy to joint creative directors
at Euro RSCG, with a brief to restructure the department and create a
more grown-up environment, as well as continue to drive the agency’s
Mark Wnek, Euro RSCG’s executive creative director, is typically matter
of fact about the turn of events. ’Paul is a brilliant creative and a
very good mate, but he tends to lead by example as opposed to be
Andy and Chris, on the other hand, are proven in that field. The teams
need people that will allow them to live and breathe and create their
own style,’ he says. ’Wieden & Kennedy will allow him to work more than
McKay, 39, began his career at BMP, where he worked alongside Bill
Gallagher, John Webster and Frank Budgen. It was here that he created
some of his most memorable campaigns, including one for Clarks’ desert
boots shot by the fashion photographer Helmut Newton.
From BMP, he moved to Laing Henry Hill Holliday, then, in 1989, he was
headhunted to join the then start-up Simons Palmer Denton Clemmow &
Here, he produced the bulk of his breakthrough work, primarily on Nike,
as well as the Cantona ’66 print ad. He joined Euro RSCG in June 1999 as
its head of art.
Herring’s career began in the early 70s when he joined DDB as a
In 1977 he moved to FCO as deputy creative director, where he picked up
the first of his four D&AD Pencils for his work on Club Med. In 1985 he
moved to Bartle Bogle Hegarty as group head. Then, in 1988, he switched
to Lowe Howard-Spink where he worked as head of copy and where he met
The two left Lowes together in 1993, along with Nick Mustoe and Andrew
Levy, to set up Mustoe Merriman Herring Levy. Herring then resigned from
the agency in June 1999 and joined Euro RSCG the following January.
So it’s a partnership that spans little more than a year and an
appointment that, according to Shearer, may well have been rushed
through as a result of his departure.
Both men have, in the past, made strong claims on their desire to
continue to work and not to run creative departments. McKay, once
described by Mark Denton as ’a soldier not a general’, has himself
admitted that he made a ’mediocre’ creative director at Simons Palmer (a
position he held for three years) and Herring cites the lack of time
spent creating work as one of the reasons he left Mustoe Merriman.
John Merriman, one of his founding partners at the agency, agrees:
’Chris is never happier than when he is writing but he spent seven years
running his own agency and he is not short on ability to creatively
direct. He’s very tough, he loves good work and is prepared to stand on
his principles. He will get very grumpy if work isn’t bought or sold. He
is certainly one of the lads - everyone always saw him as a bit of a
Wnek is confident that, as a pairing, the two will overcome their
previous reluctance to manage the creative department.
’They have given each other confidence and self-belief, and together
they are a completely different entity than they are when they’re apart.
What was a divisive atmosphere in the department will now be more
together,’ he says.
It’s simply a case of times have changed, according to Herring.
’It would be unrealistic for us to expect to be put in a room and be
asked to do ads. Life like that would be great, but we couldn’t do it at
this stage of our careers - you naturally get drawn into the wider
issues,’ Herring says.
Wnek is expecting some radical changes to the department - changes, he
says, that were not instigated under Shearer.
’Paul made very few changes or hirings. He turned up, he did ads and he
led by example. They will need to look at the broader management and
make it a very grown-up department.’
The first of these changes is the appointment of two new deputies -
Dominic Gettins and Olly Caporn.
’We’ll be reassessing the way the department works,’ McKay says. ’It’s
been built in Mark’s image and we need to get to know a lot of the
younger teams and assess who we want to be working with. We’d also like
to build a stronger relationship with account handling and
One of the more challenging aspects of the job, Shearer says, will be
standing up for the work they approve. ’They will have to be very tough
in making sure that their decisions get through. It will be very
important for them to fight for the work that they believe in,’ he
But Shearer’s more one-dimensional style, some say, was the reason his
time at Euro RSCG has been relatively short lived.
’His work was very left of field and he was only letting through work
with dead hamsters in it,’ one creative says. ’His single style was
being forced on to the whole department - with Andy and Chris, it will
be more collaborative.’