Between The Lines: Claydon Heeley still reeling

On Tuesday night, Nigel Jones informed his immediate colleagues at Claydon Heeley Jones Mason that he would be joining FCB London as the chief executive.

Claydon Heeley has been left reeling at the news. And such is the impact of the decision that Omnicom is considering holding Jones to his six-month contract.

Jones' departure will be blow for a number of reasons. His sense of humility and understated, calm manner tempered the agency's macho reputation. He is said to have been the agency's secret weapon in pitches, which helps explain its impressive new-business record. This year, it has won £16.5 million from new business, adding to last year's tally of £22 million.

So Jones has evidently been a key component in the agency's transformation from a sales promotion agency into a serious and credible direct agency.

The test for the Claydon Heeley management now will be to stay focused on growth while building on the credibility established over the past five years. Oh, and to find a suitable and convincing way to fill the gap Jones leaves behind.