Hastings will quit D'Arcy in Leo Burnett merger

LONDON - The D'Arcy executive creative director, Nick Hastings, is quitting the agency following its planned merger with Leo Burnett.

Burnett's executive creative director, Nick Bell, is to run the creative department of the combined shop alone.

Leo Burnett's group chief executive, Bruce Haines, confirmed he would be working closely with Bell as he assembled a post-merger creative department using teams from both agencies.

It is unclear how many redundancies will occur as part of the process, and Haines refused to comment further on the overall merger process. "Nick [Hastings] sees it as a priority that Leo Burnett recognises the wealth of talent within the D'Arcy creative department," Haines said.

It is unclear when Hastings is leaving Leo Burnett. He said: "This is just one of those things. I'm an executive creative director, and Leo Burnett has already got one it's perfectly happy with - I wish the other Nick the best of luck. I'm going to miss lots of the people at D'Arcy, but together we've done a lot of work we can all be proud of."

The new Leo Burnett chairman, Barry Cook, said: "I have worked with Nick for five years, and consider him a great talent and good friend. The work we have produced over that period speaks volumes for his ability."

Hastings, who became the creative director of the then DMB&B in 1998, started in advertising as a trainee account handler at Bates, but left shortly afterwards to work in the US. On his return, he teamed up with Dave Godfree to work at Miller & Leeves WAHT, before joining CDP in 1991 on the strength of a government Drink Drive campaign. Before being made redundant in 1994, the duo were CDP creative directors, and then freelanced before joining DMB&B.

Bell's confirmation as the head of the combined agency's creative department means its new senior management line-up is almost complete. Along with Cook, the executive planning director, John Poorta, joined from D'Arcy last month.

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