Tim Patten, a founder and managing partner of the direct marketing agency HPT Brand Response, is leaving the agency.
Patten, who co-founded HPT in March 1998, will spend some time outside of the industry before looking for a role in digital media.
Patten, a former head of advertising at BT, officially leaves the agency this week but sources close to the agency said he has been absent for several weeks.
The two other agency co-founders - Martin Troughton, managing partner, and Steve Harrison, creative director - will assume Patten's responsibilities.
Patten wanted a change of direction and to move into the broadband digital area. His departure will not affect the independent status of the agency, in which Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R has held a minority shareholding since backing the launch.
Patten started his career in 1983 at DMB&B as a graduate trainee. He then worked at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and FCO before moving to BT. He ran BT's advertising roster before moving to the role of head of multimedia, which involved developing interactive TV trials and working on BT's business plan for Open, the interactive Sky Digital service in which BT had a stake.
Patten said: 'I have thoroughly enjoyed the past two and a half years as we have built a successful business from scratch and feel enormously proud of what Steve, Martin and I have achieved during that time. For professional and personal reasons, it is time to move on. I wish both clients and HPT continued success.'
Troughton said: 'We are sad about Tim leaving but respect his need for a change of direction. We thank him for the huge amount of energy and talent he has devoted in helping to build the agency to its current strength.'
HPT has a staff of 40 and a client list including Vodafone, Virgin Group and Royal & Sun Alliance. HPT's work includes direct marketing, advertising and new-media activity.
Troughton was previously managing director of Bates Communications and Harrison was the creative director at OgilvyOne.