McCann Erickson shakes up Manchester operation

- McCann-Erickson has rung the changes at its two Manchester agencies, axing seven creative jobs at one and replacing the chief executive at the other.

- McCann-Erickson has rung the changes at its two Manchester agencies, axing seven creative jobs at one and replacing the chief executive at the other.

The moves are in line with plans to make the McCanns Manchester agency more creatively attuned to its clients and to raise the profile of the McCanns-owned SBW, according to Brian Child, who has overall responsibility for the McCanns regional operation.

The seven job losses at McCanns Manchester -- mostly art directors -- are part of a departmental shake-up with sees Keith Ravenscroft, the creative director, moving to a new job as executive director of creative strategy. A new creative chief is to be appointed.

"We need to have creative skills that are more appropriate to our client base and we found that we had an imbalance of art directors," Child said. "Keith has spent 25 years running creative departments and now we want to use his skills differently."

Meanwhile, the group has parted company with Ernie Bate, 49, who is vacating the CEO's job at SBW -- formerly Stowe Bowden Wilson -- after 11 years to be replaced by Simon Howitt, the agency's managing director.

"Ernie has done a great job but Simon's skills are right for the direction in which we want to take the agency," Child commented.

At the same time, the £22 million-billing SBW is augmenting its management line-up with the appointment of Geoffrey Speller, the former chairman of J. Walter Thompson Manchester, as a non-executive director.

Howitt, who has had spells at the former Geers Gross and the Grey agencies in London and Manchester, has the task of raising awareness of the agency and driving it forward.

But he insisted: "We are neither a McCanns Manchester 'me too' nor its second string. We'll have a separate personality and culture."





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