Campbell, McCann's executive creative director and vice-president, EMEA, this week announced his intention to leave the agency in January next year. He does not have a job to go to, but is expected to launch a start-up or consultancy in the new year.
His departure comes as he was due to step up to the position of chief creative officer of McCann EMEA. Campbell said: "I have decided I want to return to my entrepreneurial roots and feel I can't commit myself to all that is involved in an international creative director role. I am very proud of what we have achieved in London over the past couple of years and I will miss working with the brilliant team we have assembled there."
Howell, the regional director and president of McCann WorldGroup EMEA, said: "We are very sad about this, but it is the right decision for Robert and, therefore, the right decision for McCann. The plan was for us to tackle Europe together once we had sorted out London, but it's not a role that Robert relishes or that suits his personal circumstances right now."
Campbell's position as the executive creative director of the UK agency will be filled by Brian Fraser and Simon Learman, who, since joining the agency in September 2004, have been the creative directors on accounts including UPS, Coca-Cola and Xbox.
The pair met at St Martin's School of Art before joining Ogilvy & Mather, where they created the Guinness "chain" spot, and then BMP DDB, where they produced campaigns for Volkswagen, Budweiser and Vodafone.
Campbell joined McCann in October 2003. In appointing Campbell alongside Chris Hunton as McCann's chief executive and Robin Price as its chief operating officer, Howell created a "superstar team" he hoped would turn around the fortunes of the London office.
If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum.