Nothing like a high-profile recruit to really blow things up
A view from Claire Beale

Nothing like a high-profile recruit to really blow things up

There's sure to be more change ahead.

I love the crackle of change, the pulse of energy it sends out, setting off chain reactions that ripple across the industry, shaking off the dust.

Grey London’s chief creative officer, Vicki Maguire, is off to Havas, replacing Ben Mooge who’s just arrived at Publicis Groupe with an ambition to help make each agency brand "incrementally cooler".

And Ian Heartfield, the CCO of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, is giving up one of the best jobs in the business for the adrenaline rush of a start-up, albeit with partners who know how it’s done: Adam & Eve co-founders James Murphy and David Golding.

BBH, still, at the time of writing, waiting on the result of the debilitating Audi pitch, now has the delicate task of finding someone with Heartfield’s blend of craft skills and genius to replace him. It’s not going to be at all easy. Meanwhile, the hugely talented Maguire is the last-standing creative hero of Grey’s purple patch, and the agency needs to emerge from her departure with a powerful creative proposition and a united management team if it’s to shape an attractive new culture.

There’s nothing like a high-profile new recruit with everything to prove, an outsider’s perspective and an absence of emotional attachment to the status quo to really blow things up – hopefully in a good way. So there’s sure to be more change ahead.

All this keeps the industry fizzing, even though it feels like the UK pool of potential chief creative officers is more of a shallow puddle right now. Perhaps some exciting fresh creative leaders will emerge as a result of the recent musical chairs; it’s time.

Looking ahead, the good news is that there’s a fat pipeline pumping out interesting, ambitious and different-thinking people into the industry. And thankfully they don’t all look the same anymore. For the finest selection of those poised for leadership roles, check out Campaign’s legendary Faces to Watch (soon to be published online). 

And if it’s exciting, raw-ish creative talent you’re after, then the marvellous School of Communication Arts might right now be baking just what you’re looking for.

As the decade-with-no-name inhales for its final breath, it’s good to know there’s interesting change in the air.