Now snares Saatchi & Saatchi MD Larissa Vince as new CEO

Managing director at Publicis Groupe agency will join independent shop next month.

Vince: joined Saatchi & Saatchi in 2011
Vince: joined Saatchi & Saatchi in 2011

Now has poached Saatchi & Saatchi London managing director Larissa Vince to be its new chief executive.

When she starts in September, Vince will take charge of the 41-strong agency, working alongside chairman and sole remaining founder John Townshend, head of strategy Ben Stewart and recently hired chief creative officer Ben da Costa. Now clients include BT, Ocado and New York Bakery Co.

Saatchi & Saatchi promoted Vince to managing director from her dual role as chief growth officer at the agency and chief marketing officer at the broader Publicis Communications UK group in March 2018.

As managing director, she leads Saatchi & Saatchi's relationships with brands including Direct Line and Britvic – both of which the agency won while Vince was spearheading its new-business efforts – as well as Oracle and GlaxoSmithKline.

After a period as group marketing director at Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon Group, Vince switched to become director of marketing at just Saatchi & Saatchi London in January 2014, before being promoted to chief growth officer in October 2015.

Vince joined Saatchi & Saatchi and its sister agency Fallon as communications director in 2011 after a career in business journalism, latterly as deputy editor of Campaign.

She said: "I have lived and loved Saatchi & Saatchi for the last eight-and-a-half years, but meeting the team at Now, feeling their restless energy, drive for brilliant creative work and focus on doing the absolute best for their clients made this opportunity impossible for me to refuse."

Now is undergoing a period of transition. Founding partners Melissa Robertson and Kate Waters announced they were leaving in December 2018. Strategist Waters joined ITV as director of client strategy and planning, while chief executive Robertson left in June.

In July, the eight-year-old agency hired Above & Beyond creative director da Costa as chief creative officer, replacing Remco Graham, who leaves this month to "take a new challenge". Da Costa joins at the beginning of September. 

Townshend said: "Larissa immediately felt like a perfect fit culturally and clearly has the track record to produce brilliant, effective work. Together with our new chief creative officer, she will spearhead the re-energising of the agency, the work and our relationships."

Now managing director Laura Chamberlain is joining cultural insight agency Sign Salad in the same position in September. 

The agency's fourth founding partner, Mark Lund, exited in 2014 to join McCann Worldgroup UK as chief executive, where he remains. 

Saatchi & Saatchi London is looking to replace Vince directly.

Magnus Djaba, global president of Saatchi & Saatchi and chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi London, said: "Larissa has gone from writing about the industry to being a player writing the next chapter. We couldn’t be prouder of her. I want to thank her for everything."