Paul Kitcatt, the man who went from junior copywriter to co-founder of the one of the most successful UK direct marketing agencies ever, is returning to the Cirencester business where it all began nearly 30 years ago as part of a double appointment at Havas Helia.
Kitcatt will become non-executive director, while former Ogilvy, Y&R, Wunderman and Saatchi & Saatchi creative-turned-planning chief Lisa Lee has been appointed business strategy director. Both will work directly with managing director David Macmillan to help maximise talent and potential at the agency and raise the bar on creative output.
Macmillan said: “I am delighted that Paul and Lisa are joining the team at a time of real momentum and dynamism for the agency. Paul will deliver expertise from his distinguished CRM career and Lisa is a strategic visionary who I have long admired. She will be working directly with clients, to give them a level of strategic thinking she’s previously deployed on numerous global brands with resounding success.
“The agency is in a strong position following a streak of new business wins, awards wins, and 20% year-on-year growth and the pair’s extensive creative experience will undoubtedly have a positive impact.”
Lee, who joins from Amsterdam-based Nomads Agency where she was chief strategy officer, added: “I was hugely impressed by the quality of thinking at Havas Helia and look forward to working with the management team to continue their success.”
For Kitcatt, the appointment brings his career full circle. Having grown up in Croydon, he attended Exeter University and got his first proper job running a bookshop in Plymouth. Following a spell as a teacher in a comprehensive school in Bristol, Kitcatt applied for the job of a junior copywriter at Brann in 1989; the agency had been set up by Christian Brann and his wife Mary Rose in 1967.
Three-and-a-half years later, Kitcatt was appointed executive creative director, and remains one of the youngest people ever to have held the role. In 1996, he switched to Brann London as managing director before returning to the creative side of the business as ECD at 141 London.
By this time, Brann had merged with Evans Hunt Scott to form EHS Brann; the agency went through various guises before taking on the Havas Helia moniker.
In 2002, along with Marc Nohr, Vonnie Alexander and Jeremy Shaw, Kitcatt co-founded Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw out of charity agency Lion – formerly Burnett Associates – where the four founders had worked together.
The agency went from strength to strength and was courted for years before the founders eventually sold to Publicis in 2011. Nohr and the late Jeremy Shaw quit in 2013, while Alexander and Kitcatt left in 2015.
At the time Kitcatt said: “I’m excited about the future – mine and the agency’s. Mine because I get to be creative in another way. The agency’s because I believe it’s in a good place and greatness is in its genes.”
Kitcatt Nohr was merged with Publicis Chemistry last year and folded into DigitasLBi. However, the founders and major shareholders had the last laugh after successfully suing Publicis in the High Court for £2.6m for a breach of contract.
Since leaving Publicis, Kitcatt has joined forces with former colleague and creative services chief Chalice Croke to launch consultancy Kitcatt Croke, as well as the Bootcamp for Business Management Consultancy. Most recently Kitcatt was interim creative chief at Table19.
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