Underwired refocuses business and seeks planning director

LONDON - Digital agency Underwired is refocusing its business on email marketing and online campaign work after a strategic review prompted by takeover interest, and is looking for a planning director to replace Lazar Dzamic.

The agency said it had received two unsolicited approaches from agency groups since the end of last year. This led to it calling a strategic review between March and May, after which it rejected the approaches.

The review, which was carried out by marketing sector corporate adviser Results International, recommended the agency narrow its focus to specialise in eCRM, email marketing and online campaigns.

As a result, resources will be directed to hiring a specialist eCRM team and planning director. Dzamic, who has been working part-time at the agency for the past year, is to leave in November.

Felix Velarde, managing director at Underwired, told Brand Republic the agency is looking to hire a full-time planning director.

In addition, the agency has just appointed Tony Bond as finance director. Bond is a former director of Results International, but was not involved in the strategic review.

Velarde said the changes would not affect agency clients including Peugeot, Nickelodeon, thelondonpaper, Deutsche Bank and Procter & Gamble petfood brand Eukanuba.

Velarde said: "Underwired is the only pure-play digital agency in the UK focusing on eCRM, so given this clear commercial lead we have decided to focus our business on the areas that have seen the most growth. In particular, our eCRM offering will be expanded, a natural decision given this accounts for more than half of our revenue".

The agency was founded in 1996 by Ruth Brecher, who still owns a shareholding of around 5%. It is majority controlled by Velarde and creative director Jason Holland, who joined in 2001. Last year, direct marketing agency Kitcatt Nohr took a 5% stake.