Jones and Blackden head Universal in Shaw restructure

LONDON - Universal McCann is overhauling its management team in a bid to improve its performance in 2004.

Andy Jones, the agency's operations director, and Damian Blackden, the head of Universal Interactive, have been promoted to joint managing directors.

Yvonne Scullion, the client services director, and Chris Sutcliffe, the planning director, are leaving the agency.

Chris Shaw, the Universal regional director EMEA, orchestrated the changes, which will also allow him to spend more time on markets outside the UK. Shaw said: "We have got to go into 2004 with the right team to ensure the growth of the agency. This encourages new blood to move throughout the company."

Jones was previously the agency's TV director and Blackden joined Universal three years ago from Zenith Interactive. Their roles will be filled from within the agency.

The agency had not had a managing director since Shaw was promoted to the role of UK and Ireland chairman in 2001. However, it has a tried and tested policy of appointing joint managing directors to run the agency. Shaw and Fiona Smedley were appointed to the roles in 1997.

Shaw said Jones and Blackden had complementary skills and that both of them "can win the trust of clients and know how to run the business".

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