M&C Saatchi HQ in London has wasted no time filling its vacant board member posts following the shock resignation of four board members in early December.
Gareth Davis, the former Imperial Tobacco chief executive, has been appointed deputy chairman and Colin Jones, the former finance director of Euromoney, as non-executive chairman.
The appointments follow the December departure of Lord Saatchi – who founded the agency in 1995 – along with other board members including Lord Dobbs, Sir Michael Peat and Lorna Tilbian following accounting irregularities at the London headquartered agency and a 66 per cent drop in the share price over 2019.
The three remaining founders – David Kershaw, chief executive, Jeremy Sinclair, chairman, and Bill Muirhead, executive director – have indicated the new directors will oversee a review of the company’s governance in light of the accounting misdemeanours.
Last August, PwC discovered a series of historical “misstatements” on its balance sheet tallying to £6.5 million ($A12.5 million). Something the company described as a “cock-up in the accounts department”. Apparently staff were heavily bonused on money that didn’t actually exist or given company shares that subsequently fell from a 2019 high of £4 ($A7.70) down to almost £1 ($A1.93) on the back of grim profit warnings.
Already there has been some flak in UK media that the board is all male; however, Moray MacLennan will continue to be in charge of the overseas agencies including Australia (M&C Saatchi’s biggest overseas operation outside the UK.)
There had been industry murmurings that Accenture might make a play for the embattled agency to the tune of £90 million ($A175 million), however, those rumours appear to have subsided for now.
The big carrot for Accenture would be M&C Sport and Entertainment, M&C’s thriving marketing and sponsorship division. As creative increasingly struggles to pay the bills, sport and entertainment is proving increasingly lucrative.
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