VCCP Me managing partner Ben Stephens is to follow his fellow co-founders, Chris Whitson and Neil Francis, out of the door nine years after the agency was launched as Stephens Francis Whitson.
The parent company has handed Stephens’ responsibilities to VCCP chief strategy officer Sophie Maunder-Allan, who will become chief executive of the DM agency.
She will lead the revamped management team which includes planning partner Gavin Hilton, who joins from Rapp later this month, creative partner Jamie Bell, and Steve Mattey, who has been promoted to chief operating officer.
Originally launched as SFW, the agency rebranded last year after merging with data agency Tree to become part of the VCCP Partnership. VCCP then acquired the minority stake in the agency that it did not already own, triggering the departure of Whitson – who now works for WPP’s Team News – in October last year.
Francis had left in 2012 and was succeeded by Bell, who moved over from CMW.
Former Harrow pupil Stephens, who is leaving VCCP to pursue “other interests”, started his career as an account executive in 1989 at FKB Carlson (now Aimia). A year later he joined BBH’s direct marketing agency Limbo as an account director. It was here that he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Mike Cavers, Steve Stretton and Juliet Timms.
By 1997 he had taken up the role of managing director of newly merged Tequila Payne Stracey. Three years later and Stephens was to be found at Rapier, also as MD, where he stayed until 2004.
SFW picked up the More Th>n account soon after launch, and still works for the business today, along with Macmillan Cancer Support, Credit Confidential, O2 and Southern Railway.
Stephens posted online: “Right ho. It’s been great but now’s the time for the next adventure. Well, after a good summer break.”
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