His two co-founders – managing partner Ben Stephens and planning partner Chris Whitson – will remain at the agency
Francis’ stake in VCCP me has been acquired by Chime and the agency is looking for a senior creative to replace him. He said: “I have had a ball, but it now feels the right time to move on to a new challenge.”
Francis started his DM career as a copywriter at Midas Direct in 1989, followed by spells at Dean Street Marketing, Hakuhodo, and Wunderman.
In 1997, he became founding partner and creative director of start-up Black Cat (later RMG: Connect, now part of JWT London), until he quit to set up SFW in January 2005.
Chime bought Tree – founded by Steve Mattey and Matthew Bayfield – last year. The agency was originally a joint venture with Archibald Ingall Stretton but was bought out by Paul Simons-owned Cagney a number of years ago.
Mattey went on to be chief executive of Cagney but the duo secured a deal with Chime two years ago. The agency will move into the VCCP me offices in London’s Victoria and the two will work together as well as on separate business.
Stephens said: “We’re putting together an agency with a reputation for excellence in data-driven marketing strategy and execution with one that is a proven expert in the management of complex data and uncovering real insight from it.”
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