Amaze boss exits as St Ives plots agency shake-up

nat_biogSt Ives is pushing its digital agencies Amaze, Realise and Branded3 closer together under the chief executive of Realise Tony Murphy, in a move which has also seen Amaze boss Natalie Gross leave the business after nearly 16 years.
Amaze One, the joint venture between Occam and Amaze, is not thought to be affected by the move.
Gross joined Amaze in 1999 as head of sales and marketing after four years at John Moores University in Liverpool, where she had been enquiry manager. She worked her way up the ranks and, as managing partner, was heavily involved in its first buyout by the Hasgrove Group in 2007.
Gross was appointed CEO four years later, soon before St Ives Group splashed out £24.3m for the agency.
Its annual figures, released earlier this week, reported a 7% increase to £367.5m for the year.
St Ives Group had issued a profits warning in April due to a slowdown in business at its Strategic Marketing division, which houses Amaze, alongside continuing tough trading conditions from its major retail clients.
In the end, sales for the unit rose £33.5m to £144.2m, and adjusted operating profits rose from £16.34m to £19.35m. However, margins slipped to 13.4%, compared to 14.8% the previous year.
Overall group sales rose 6.6% to £367.5m, while adjusted pre-tax profits were down 7.8% at £30.4m. The pre-tax loss for the year was £5.7m compared with a profit of £8.7m last year.

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