Saatchi likely to cut links with company

The clock has run out and Maurice Saatchi looks likely to leave the company he co-founded in 1970.

The advertising guru faces an agonising choice. He could accept the fig-leaf job offered by the board last month as honorary president of the Saatchi holding company and chairman of the Saatchi advertising group. Or he could sever all links with the advertising giant.

Sources at the company said they did not expect him to make an announcement in time for today's deadline, but the signs are that his attempts to coerce the board into an improved offer have been rebuffed and, rather than serve under former employees, he will seek new challenges elsewhere.

"It remains difficult to imagine that Maurice would accept a job that would require him becoming a non-board employee, reporting to a former colleague like Jeremy Sinclair," a friend of the 49-year old Mr Saatchi said.

Sources at Saatchi agree. "Realistically, there is no chance of him going back to Saatchi's as an employee," one said.

Approaches have been made to Mr Saatchi by the company. However, one insider said the board was unlikely to make a concession on the all-important question of Mr Saatchi retaining his position on the board.

"Such a decision would still have to go to the annual general meeting later this year and I think we would have a tough time getting it through," a company source said.

Saatchi insiders remain sceptical about threats to organise a client rebellion if Mr Saatchi leaves. Top-name account-holders voicing support for Mr Saatchi have included Mars and British Airways, and analysts fear that falling revenue at the recently streamlined company would hit profits.

Mr Saatchi was instrumental in designing those companies' successful advertising campaigns and over the years had developed highly valued personal relationships with Sir Colin Marshall, chief executive of British Airways, and Forrest Mars, head of the confectionery and pet foods group.

Despite their fear of a revolt by key clients, Saatchi board members say they do not believe that public companies would threaten shareholder earnings to fulfil an emotional commitment to a single executive.

"They have expressed their solidarity with Maurice with the utmost solidarity but their interests will mean their bark is greater than their bite," said one Saatchi representative. "These companies have invested a fortune building up very sophisticated

and successful partnerships with Saatchi companies and they would be reprehensible if they blew away that money in a fit of pique."

Mars, a private company worth £30m in revenue to Saatchi, is most likely to rebel.

The future for Mr Saatchi offers many opportunities. He has threatened to open a new advertising company and would represent a powerful rival to his former company.

It is not certain whether he would take ownership of successful advertising slogans - such as British Airways' "The World's Favourite Airline" - with him.

Other opportunites suggested have included a position in the Downing Street policy unit. The Conservative Party has enjoyed a very successful relationship with the Saatchi brothers over three elections.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own