M&C Saatchi Merlin launches athlete division with Rutherford and Johnson-Thompson

M&C Saatchi Merlin, the talent management arm of M&C Saatchi, has opened an athlete division and signed Olympic long-jump champion Greg Rutherford as one of its first clients.

Greg Kirkpatrick and Richard Thompson: launch M&C Saatchi Merlin
Greg Kirkpatrick and Richard Thompson: launch M&C Saatchi Merlin

Greg Kirkpatrick will run M&C Saatchi Merlin’s new division as head of the athlete development. Kirkpatrick was previously working freelance, and, before that, at MTC.

In addition to Rutherford, M&C Saatchi Merlin has signed the Commonwealth medallist sprinter Jodie Williams, the former European 400m indoor champion Perri Shakes-Drayton, and Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who won gold for the pentathlon at the European Indoor Championships in March.

Some of M&C Saatchi Merlin’s existing clients will now also sit within the new division, including the 2012 Olympic Taekwondo gold medallist Jade Jones and the snowboarder Jenny Jones.

While M&C Saatchi Merlin also represents Mo Farah, the Olympic gold medallist only uses the agency for commercial deals unrelated to his running, and so he will not sit within the new athlete division.

Richard Thompson, M&C Saatchi Merlin’s chairman, said: "These are hugely exciting times at the agency, with the ever-increasing expertise that the M&C Saatchi group offers.

"Our extraordinary talent roster signifies what we stand for – working with the best British talent.

Thompson founded Merlin Elite in 2003 and sold a 60 per cent stake in the company to M&C Saatchi in 2013, in a deal that reportedly valued the agency at £1.5 million.