Top creative Rosie Arnold is leaving agency life after more than 35 years to focus on mentoring and a number of projects aimed at championing diversity in the ad industry.
Arnold is stepping down as creative partner and head of art at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO at the end of this year. This is the second senior departure at AMV this month, after Dame Cilla Snowball, group chairman and group chief executive, announced her plan to leave, also at the end of 2018.
She will not be directly replaced, according to Adrian Rossi and Alex Grieve, executive creative directors. They said: "We will be hiring a hundred to replace the irreplaceable Rosie Arnold. They are big (high-heeled) shoes to fill – too big for one person."
Speaking to Campaign, Arnold said her motivation for leaving was largely prompted by personal reasons. Her husband passed away just under four years ago and the recent loss of other close family members had led her to "re-evaluate my life and to want to fulfil some personal projects".
Arnold joined AMV in 2016 and spent the previous 33 years at Bartle Bogle Hegarty London, rising to become deputy executive creative director.
She was BBH's 11th employee, joining the agency in 1983 after studing art at Central Saint Martins. Her acclaimed creative work includes campaigns for Pretty Polly, Levi’s and Yeo Valley. She ran the Lynx/Axe account for 14 years and her campaigns "Getting dressed" and "Get in there" won numerous awards, including D&AD yellow Pencils in 2005 and 2008 respectively.
Arnold said: "It's been a real privilege to work with so many talented creative people – I am going to miss being on top of technology and identifying the latest trends. One of the things I really enjoyed over the last few years is the opportunity to make the world a better place through advertising. We can really effect real change."
She said she will continue to work with a number of organisations, including D&AD, Creative Equals and SheSays, to "get more diversity into creative departments" and to further encourage women in the industry.
Arnold added that her proudest and most memorable moment in her career was being president of D&AD in 2012, the charity's 50th year, and introducing the white Pencil, awarded for work that not only sells but does good in the world. She also highlighted her work with Mars addressing diversity, including campaigns for Maltesers.
As a tribute to her mother, Arnold is also working on a short film with Pulse that will be released in January, which she has both written and directed, and she plans to take a sculpture course.