NEWS: Walton surrenders independent status to go to Aztec shop

Aztec, the through-the-line agency owned by the Austin Knight Group, has hired Gary Walton as its creative director.

Aztec, the through-the-line agency owned by the Austin Knight Group, has

hired Gary Walton as its creative director.



Walton joins Aztec from the creative independent, Walton and Wiggins,

where he was a partner. The appointment ends Walton’s long-term

partnership with Phil Wiggins, with whom he founded Walton and Wiggins

in 1989. Wiggins will continue to operate as a freelance.



Walton replaces the Aztec creative director, Colin Borg, who becomes

director of communications strategies.



The hiring is the second by Aztec this year, and follows the summer

appointment of David Thornton as chief executive. Thornton was formerly

the managing director of Bates Communications.



Walton, whose background is in top-ten London agencies including Bartle

Bogle Hegarty, TBWA and BMP DDB, said the move was an opportunity to do

something different.



‘We have carte blanche to build Aztec in its own image. Austin Knight is

going to give us a free hand,’ he claimed.



Also new to the Soho Square agency is David Freeman, who joins as its

first director of film and new media. He arrives from Creative

Convergence, the Leeds-based ‘total communications’ company.



Aztec, which bills pounds 16 million and whose clients include Peugeot,

British Steel, BP and the Britannia Building Society, has ambitions to

become a top-20 agency within the next three to four years.



Thornton commented: ‘We have an absolutely crystal-clear vision of where

we want to be. We’ll be nudging the top 20, but with a wholly different

ethos to that of other agencies.’