School Reports 2013: Leagas Delaney

British Red Cross
British Red Cross

Score: 6  Last year: 5

Steady improvement has characterised the development at Leagas Delaney’s London agency in the past couple of years. Investment, perhaps long overdue, in a capable senior management team for the shop has paid dividends, allowing the chairman, Tim Delaney, and the group chief executive, Margaret Johnson, to focus on international activity.

James Hayhurst, the DDB UK head of account management, arrived as the managing director in April and was joined soon after by the planning director, Steve Mustardé, a former Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and Bartle Bogle Hegarty planner.

On the international front, a less permanent hiring was that of the former Dare managing partner Michael Pring, who arrived as the international managing partner but left several months later to join Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO in a UK managing partner role.

While Leagas Delaney’s Prague office was responsible for the execrable Škoda "dad skills" campaign, its London shop raised the creative bar under the former CHI& Partners creative Nigel Roberts, who had arrived as the creative director in November 2011. The agency’s work for the British Red Cross was the highlight, while it also created solid print activity for Lil-Lets, one of its client wins in 2011.

The agency’s new leadership team were successful, albeit on a small scale, on the new-business trail. It claimed eight wins, two of which were additional accounts from the British Red Cross. MSC Cruises and Waterstones were the most significant wins and the agency created a strong print campaign for the book retailer.

Leagas Delaney’s only loss of note came with the pan-European Goodyear Dunlop account to Leo Burnett.

In momentum terms, 2012 was more successful than 2011, with Leagas Delaney hanging on to its largest UK clients and upping its creative game. Management stability (an issue for the agency in the past), larger new-business wins and stronger work across the portfolio should be the targets for 2013.

Leagas Delaney
Type of agency Creative
Company ownership Independent
Key personnel Tim Delaney chairman and executive creative director
Margaret Johnson group chief executive
Nigel Roberts creative director
James Hayhurst managing director
Steve Mustardé planning director
Nielsen billings 2012 £36m
Nielsen billings 2011 £36m
Declared income £7.6m
Total accounts at year end 22
Accounts won 8 (biggest: MSC Cruises)
Accounts lost 1 (Goodyear Dunlop)
Number of staff 65 (+5%)

Score key: 9 Outstanding 8 Excellent 7 Good 6 Satisfactory 5 Adequate 4 Below average 3 Poor 2 A year to forget 1 Survival in question

How Leagas Delaney rates
itself: 7

"It feels like we are heading in the right direction. We know we're not there yet, but a combination of some of our creative output this year, the work we have on the table for next, and the new faces that are now proud to call One Alfred Place home means that we the end with something of a spring in our step. Here's to continued progress in 2013."