Poke founders split after 18 years as Roope exits Publicis

Nicolas Roope is not joining another agency, while Dave Monk will lead the agency's creative department.

Roope: founded Poke in 2001 with Nick Farnhill
Roope: founded Poke in 2001 with Nick Farnhill

Nicolas Roope is leaving Publicis.Poke, putting an end to 18 years of his working partnership with the agency’s chief executive Nick Farnhill.

His departure comes two months after Publicis London and Poke, the digital creative agency he co-founded in 2001 with Farnhill and four others, were merged into a single integrated shop

Roope, who was promoted to creative chairman when the merger was announced in June, will leave the agency at the end of August.

He does not have another agency job to go to and will focus on developing projects.

Roope played a key role in integrating Poke into Publicis Groupe following its acquisition from Mother Holdings in 2013. He was also instrumental in ensuring the creative collaboration of Poke and Publicis London, as well as content specialist Arc, as part of a wider group within Publicis UK. 

Outside of Publicis Groupe, Roope has co-founded several creative companies, including new-media collective Antirom in 1994 and product design company Hulger. He and Farnhill will continue to work together on The Lovie Awards, the sister brand of The Webby Awards, which recognises the best of the European web.

Roope said: "After nearly 18 years steering Poke’s creative and strategic direction, this is the perfect moment to move forward and explore new possibilities. 

"Poke has retained its reputation as a leader in the turbulent digital environment, always reinventing itself in response to new trends and challenges. I am incredibly proud of the legacy we have created and the place we have secured in the industry’s history.

"I’ve really enjoyed working with the new, integrated leadership team to craft the blueprint for Publicis.Poke. And I believe I leave an infinitely capable team, inspired by a progressive playbook fit for the world in which we all now live." 

Publicis.Poke’s executive creative director Dave Monk will continue to lead the agency creatively. The full creative leadership team also includes Angus Mackinnon, Colin Byrne and Garry Munns as group creative directors; Tom Hostler as head of brand experience, Aleksandra Melnikova as head of experience design, and Andy Dobson as head of technology.

Farnhill, chief executive of Publicis.Poke, added: "It’s a rare thing indeed to have been able to work with such a great friend for almost 20 years and had so much fun along the way. 

"Nik’s brain, brawn and beard have always helped shape who we are and he’ll continue to be an advocate for the progress of Publicis.Poke. 

"I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve achieved together. There is one plus though – I don’t have to be ‘Little Nick’ any more!"

Of the six founders of Poke, only two now remain at the agency: Farnhill and Hostler, who was appointed head of brand experience following the merger.

Simon Waterfall was the first to leave in 2009; he has since moved to California and is creative partner at Group of Humans. The following year, Iain Tait left to join Wieden & Kennedy Portland; since 2014 he has been ECD at the agency's London office. The sixth, Peter Beech, left in 2015 and is now an investor and consultant.

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