Hutton Collins Partners took an initial stake in Billingtons five years ago; it has also invested in Wagamama, Healthcare at Home, Caffè Nero, Novus Leisure and The Vincent Hotel Group.
The new management line-up will be headed by John Gellett as group chief executive. Gellett founded ZGC in 1989 and sold it to Mosaic Group eight years later with billings of over £20m.
He will be supported by the existing management who will all remain in place, including group managing director Jason Nicholas, who has been with the agency for 14 years.
Gellett said: “Billington Cartmell is a successful agency with a good reputation, great clients and many excellent people. The opportunity now is to build on the foundations laid by Ian and Paul and create a market-leading integrated agency group that fully embraces the new media and digital revolution.”
The Billington Cartmell Group, whose clients include GlaxoSmithKline, Unilever, Morrisons and Panasonic comprises three autonomously-run agencies – Billington Cartmell, experiential agency Closer and creative shop Brave.
Howell, co-founder of HHCL and most recently managing director of ITV, said: “I have now seen the marcoms sector from the agency, client and media owner perspective and share Hutton Collins’ conviction that there is an opportunity to build a new type of independent communications group based around the skills that Billington Cartmell has in abundance. That is why Matthew Hooper and I are delighted to be joining the board to help John Gellett and the BC team achieve that goal.”
Hooper founded Interfocus in 1989 in conjunction with Omnicom, eventually buying back the business and selling it to Maxxcom (now MDC) in 2003.
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