Ikon expects to announce a new CEO early next week amid persistent speculation the agency could be set to merge with Bohemia, and move to a full-service model, after yesterday’s sudden departure of Dan Johns.
They have scotched rumours of a mass-exodus from the agency with Simon White, the newly-appointed STW Media chairman, dismissing a “frenzy of speculation” in the trade press saying the exits are “totally part of our plans”.
However, he did not divulge what those plans were, with speculation mounting they could include merging sister agency Bohemia, which White helped found in 2011, with Ikon.
A change in direction for the agency could well see it turning away from the people before profits culture it has famously pioneered since its inception in 1999, being held up as a leading light in the human resources field for the industry.
Another may be to evolve the agency to a full-service model, rolling out further capabilities and opening up the possibility of merging smaller units within the STW group into it.
Johns, who has been CEO since 2011 and spent a decade at the company, has been followed out of the door by long-time allies digital director Ellie Rogers and people and culture director Leonie Kerley.
Two other “mid-level executives”, one understood to be data analytics director Bevan Davies, have also left the business.
In a statement White said: “The most dangerous thing in business is a great last result. We are relentlessly evaluating what we do, how we do it, what our clients need today and tomorrow, and how to keep changing ahead of the market to ensure we keep leading the industry and delivering best possible value.
“That’s what we are doing now. We’re evolving the direction of Ikon to ensure we innovate and change faster than the competition and faster than client needs. We’re making a great organisation even better.”
In conclusion White added: “That’s the end of it. As they say in the classics, the caravan has left town but the dogs keep barking. We’re moving forward with pace and a very clear focus. No doubt the chatter and speculation will continue.”
The agency has been experiencing flux in its management for six months, since Annick Perrin announced her departure to lead rival Initiative, while trading director Nicole Turley and communications director Tom Rankin have also departed to rivals in recent months.