Cash Converters’ recently anointed CEO Mark Reid has set the record straight on his recent hire of former IAB CEO, Alice Manners, and 303MullenLowe’s announcement it had resigned the creative account for the Perth-based second-hand retailer and non-bank lender.
Speaking with B&T in response to reports covering Manners appointment as chief of digital commerce, marketing and product, and the subsequent announcement from 303MullenLowe it had “resigned” the Cash Converters creative account, Reid said he was mystified by the announcement given that the pitch process was well under way before 303MullenLowe had supposedly “resigned” the account.
“I’ve been with the business 12 months and as with anybody coming into a business, you look at everything,” Reid said.
Cash Converters put up its media account for review around six months ago and incumbent 303MullenLowe lost out to Dentsu Aegis Perth.
“It was always part of that journey that we would put our creative up for pitch, but the media account was always the bigger priority,” Reid said.
When the creative pitch was announced, Reid said he was approached by 303MullenLowe’s Perth chairman Al Taylor who asked him: “Is this a pitch we could win?”
“I said absolutely, there were other agencies involved . . . but there was absolutely no lead agency. It was just a process of freshening things up.”
303MullenLowe had been Cash Converters agency for 10 years.
With regards to Alice Manners decision to leave 303MullenLowe in preference for her role at Cash Converters, Reid said he was bemused by the agency’s negative reaction.
Reid added that he had a conversation with Taylor after he had made Manners an offer, and she had accepted, and “basically everything was great, to be honest”.
“If I was in 303’s shoes, if I had someone coming from the business to be chief of digital products and marketing at Cash Converters I would have thought that would have been a good thing,” he said.
The following week, said Reid, Taylor told Reid 303MullenLowe would be withdrawing from the pitch process.
“I was disappointed in that. I tried to understand the reasons why . . . They obviously had their own thoughts on how the pitch was going to go,” said Reid.
Reid also said both he and Taylor had agreed on communicating 303MullenLowe’s decision not to participate in the pitch collaboratively and not until both organisations had had a chance to communicate the news with their respective staff.
This agreement wasn’t adhered to and 303MullenLowe announced their decision early. Reid said this didn’t worry him, but what did upset him was when the comments about Manners became personal.
“Alice [Manners] has got tremendous integrity and she is a massive acquisition, whether for 303 or for us. We are so lucky to have her on board and with her we’re going to go on a journey for the long-term,” he said.
Reid also confirmed the outcome of the pitch process would be decided by Manners.
Mark Reid was appointed CEO of Cash Converters in January 2017, bringing with him over 25 years of expertise from the financial services industry in CEO roles across insurance, retail and business banking.