Four of the senior executives who negotiated the management buyout
that led to the creation of Poulter Partners two years ago - including
the chairman, Richard Lewis - are quitting the Leeds agency.
Lewis exits along with his wife, Alison Brand, who is the managing
partner for advertising specialism, the executive creative director Pete
Camponi and Mike Smith, the finance chief.
Within a day of the announcement there was further upheaval at the
pounds 37 million-billing shop when Rick Ward and Maria Prchlik, the
joint creative directors, said they were also leaving because of their
reported unhappiness with the changing culture.
Lewis’s replacement is Gary McCall, the head of the sales promotion and
direct marketing division, who becomes group managing director.
His appointment has prompted claims that Poulters, whose major clients
include McCain Foods, the Morrison supermarket chain and the
housebuilder Redrow, will shift emphasis towards its more successful
The departure of Lewis, 52, has also led to his resignation as chairman
of the Northern IPA only a year into his three-year term of office.
Although Lewis and Brand leave with no jobs to go to, McCall denied
speculation that the group was being taken over by its below-the-line
divisions and that the resignations were a means of cutting
’There has been no coup,’ McCall said. ’The decision by Richard and the
others is entirely their own.’ Lewis condemned the suggestions as
’mischief-making’ and said he had no plans for a start-up.
The management changes culminate what have been contrasting fortunes for
the group since the management buyout.
While the company’s sales promotion division has prospered, its
conversion rate in above-the-line pitches has been disappointing.
However, McCall insisted the agency’s above-the-line new-business record