James is looking to quit media agency life. He said: "The reason for leaving is two-fold. First, I have spent more than 12 years in the business. At 29, I have a mass of ideas and energy I want to realise. My heart and soul have been battling for a while but what has drawn me to make the decision is that I'm no longer happy with the media communications arena."
Manning Gottlieb, which recently strengthened its links to the OMD network with a rebranding and pooling of some resources, has James bound to a 12-month notice period. He is expected to work out some of this period before launching his own venture outside of the media agency world.
During his notice period James will work alongside Nick Manning, the agency's chief executive, on group business. A replacement for him as managing director is expected to be found internally. Alison Wright is the deputy managing director.
James said he is discussing a possible new venture with "several interested parties". He said: "It is highly likely it will be a non-media agency specialisation."
Manning said: "Matt's leaving on the most amicable terms. He's done a fantastic job but has other ambitions. We will move on and we have an embarrassment of riches."