Saatchi in crisis as top trio quit

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Saatchi & Saatchi faced a new crisis yesterday after the resignation of its chief creative director and two other top executives. The departures come barely a month after the boardroom ousting of Maurice Saatchi, co-founder and chairman of the wor ld-leading advertising agency.

City analysts said the resignations would almost certainly have adverse implications for the company's blue-chip client list, which includes Mars, British Airways, Procter & Gamble, and the Conservative Party.

Jeremy Sinclair, the acting chairman and chief creative director, Bill Muirhead, head of the North American operations, and David Kershaw, chairman of UK business, said they had had enough of the behind the scenes power politics being played by big shareholders.

They were particularly aggrieved at the campaign, spearheaded by investors in the US, against a new pay package that led to last month's resignation of Mr Saatchi.Shares, which were trading at 156p prior to Mr Saatchi's departure, dropped 16p to 124p yesterday.

Mr Sinclair, who originally worked for the Cramer Saatchi advertising consultancy before co-founding Saatchi & Saatchi with Maurice and his brother Charles in 1970, said: "The company is in the grip of people who do not understand the business and seem prepared to ignore the advice of those who do. I never intended to leave the company, but it seems the company has left me."

Mr Sinclair and Mr Muirhead made strong attacks against David Herro, a fund manager at Harris Associates, based in Chicago, who played a pivotal role in Mr Saatchi's downfall.

Parting shots, page 26

Outlook, page 27