Rapier has poached Ben Stephens, the joint chief executive of
Tequila Payne Stracey, to become its managing director.
Stephens will be Rapier’s first managing director since Simon Toaldo
left last January to join Partners BDDH. After his departure, a senior
management team was put in place, headed by Jonathan Stead, chief
executive and co-founder of Rapier. The arrival of Stephens will see
much of the day-to-day responsibilities handed to him from Stead.
’We are working on a number of new ventures which are taking up a lot of
my time, therefore I need to hand over some general management and
client responsibilities,’ Stead explained.
Stephens’ departure still leaves Tequila with one chief executive, Jane
Asscher, who shared the job with him. Apart from deputy chairman, Andrew
Stracey, however, there are none of the original Payne Stacey senior
managers left; planning director, Phil Cragg, creative director, Mike
Cavers, and joint chairman and chief executive, David Payne, all
resigned last year.
Stephens has been with the TBWA group for six years, starting at TBWA
Direct, and has gone through two back-to-back mergers, first with Payne
Stracey and then with Tequila.
He said: ’Within the TBWA group, I’ve gone from a three-person agency to
a 210-person one, which has taught me a fantastic amount. It’s now time
to take that learning elsewhere and, looking at Rapier from the outside,
I respect its distinctive approach to its clients’ business. My gut
instinct is that the chemistry with the management team will be very