School Reports 2018: Carat

Type of agency & ownership:  Media agency, owned by Dentsu Aegis Network
Nielsen billings 2017: £753m (-16%)
Declared income: n/s
Total accounts at year end: 218
Accounts won: 14 (biggest: Jacobs Douwe Egbert)
Accounts lost: 12 (biggest: Vauxhall)
Number of staff: 605 (+2%)
Key personnel: Rick Hirst, chief executive; Dan Hagen, chief strategy officer; Matt Landeman, managing director; Mark Hughes, executive operations officer; Nayna Bhana, finance director
Star player: Dot Cooper, PA

It was yet another tough year for media agency bosses, and Carat didn’t escape the madness. Big changes at group level won’t have helped chief executive Rick Hirst’s stress levels. Dentsu Aegis Network’s UK and Ireland chief executive Tracy De Groose made a shock departure and was replaced by an unlikely media man, Stef Calcraft.

After 2016’s below-average performance – the agency scored four, a significant drop from its eight in 2015 – Hirst was determined to pull out all the stops. Alas, along came some major global account consolidation and out went Vauxhall and British Airways. Other losses included Sofology.

Carat was at least able to keep hold of Lionsgate and pick up the Jacobs Douwe Egbert business from Havas Media, and from Manning Gottlieb OMD, as well as 12 other accounts.

Creative work included the re-release of the Predator football boot for Adidas, for which Carat co-ordinated a live stream across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other publishers, as well as digital out-of-home in London, Amsterdam, Paris and Milan.

The loss of chief client officer Alison Jones was, though, a further blow to the leadership team, which now, unusually, includes the HR director and finance director, Gemma Barlow and Nayna Bhana, respectively.

Staff numbers rose by 10, and Carat says it is improving diversity by introducing a schools programme. It also plans to continue its focus on boosting the number of people taking shared parental leave.

After another year of turmoil, Carat has its work cut out.




5 4 6

Agency's year in a tweet

We made brave happen. Made media simple, open and valuable, and grew our business with the support of some amazing and trusted clients.

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


*indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation