CLOSE-UP: NEWSMAKERS/ANDY MCKAY AND CHRIS HERRING - Creative chiefs who want to shake up Euro RSCG. Shearer’s departure leaves Herring and McKay to steer creative, Jade Garrett says

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.

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

creative output.

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

John Merriman.

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.’


Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content