Saatchi name is rarely out of the news


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The Independent Online

The name Saatchi is arguably the most famous in British advertising. Saatchi & Saatchi was formed in 1970 by brothers Charles and Maurice, who set out to redefine the ad world, and their unusual surname has rarely been out of the headlines since. But last week was a tumultuous one even by their standards.

First the fiery early days of Saatchi & Saatchi were mischievously raked over by Tim Bell in his new book Right or Wrong; The memoirs of Lord Bell.

Bell, who was the firm’s first managing director, accused Charles Saatchi of bullying behaviour at that time, including hurling chairs at Maurice and smashing up someone’s sports car. It recalled last year’s shocking paparazzi shots of Charles apparently throttling his then wife, Nigella Lawson.

Last week we saw a quieter coup at the brothers’ current business M&C Saatchi, where Tom Bazeley took over as CEO of the UK ad shop.

The Saatchi brothers remain partners of the wider group, but the 40-year-old Bazeley is surely the face of things to come, having sold his digital-oriented agency to M&C Saatchi only six months ago.


Confusingly for those outside the advertising business, the Saatchi brothers’ original agency Saatchi & Saatchi – from which they were ousted in the mid-1990s – has also been hitting the news.

It is not only moving its headquarters back from New York to London (and relocating that HQ from Fitzrovia to Chancery Lane) but has a new global chief executive to boot: British “suit” Robert Senior, who formerly ran Fallon.

Senior has taken over from New Zealander Kevin Roberts at a time when what is a vast international network has decided to consolidate to fewer hubs. It is also seeking to recapture the British creative excellence that so defined its early work for  the Conservative Party and British Airways.

Danny Rogers is group editor-in-chief of Brand Republic Group