School Reports 2011: Walker Media

The biggest news from Walker Media in 2010 was on the management floor, where the co-founder Phil Georgiadis finally stepped back from the day-to-day running of the agency and handed the reins over to Simon Davis, who became chief executive, and Sean Healy, who was hired as the managing director from MediaCom.

Recent Walker Media work: Currys
Recent Walker Media work: Currys

Score: 6

Agency fact file: Walker Media
Type of agency Media
Company ownership M&C Saatchi
Key personnel Phil Georgiadis chairman
  Simon Davis chief executive
  Mark Syal head of Walker-i
  Jon Horrocks head of broadcast
  Sean Healy managing director
The Nielsen Company billings 2010 £277m
The Nielsen Company billings 2009 £202m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 30
Accounts won 11 (biggest: Olympic Delivery Authority)
Accounts lost 1 (Dyson)
TV 55%
Press 28%
Outdoor 9%
Radio 2%
Search/display online 6%
Number of staff 122 (+6%)

Quite whether this means that Georgiadis will be gradually letting his steady hand slip from Walker Media's tiller (or take his eye off the till) looks unlikely, but it does mean the agency is evolving and Healy looks like being a very smart hiring, judging by the regard in which he was held at his previous agency.

Combining Davis' steely competitiveness with Healy's planning firepower is a smart move if Walker Media is to get itself on the pitchlists that are deserving of it. 2010 seemed to have mostly been about winning smaller accounts such as JJB Sports and Kettle Chips (although the Olympic Delivery Authority, won with its sister agency M&C Saatchi, provided a shot in the arm). The agency also needs to reduce its dependency on its three big blue-chip clients, Marks & Spencer, DSGi (owner of the Currys brand) and Barclays, just in case one of those should do the unthinkable and decide to walk. Last year only Dyson chose to do this.

With a new management team - and some new ideas - the revamped structure could mean that Walker Media is back on the ascendancy; hopefully, we'll see evidence of this over the coming months.

Score last year: 6

How Walker Media rates itself: 7

"A good year overall, with billings increasing by 36 per cent January to October and £40 million of new business won, albeit without an iconic new account win. We launched Source: WM, our insight and effectiveness division, which is already adding significant value to our clients; we bolstered our senior management with the hiring of Sean Healy from MediaCom as managing director and even managed to refit our offices. A strong platform for more growth next year."

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