Lida appears to have gone from the “shining light” of the M&C Saatchi Group to be plunged into yet another period of turmoil with chief executive Victoria Fox heading for the exit and chairman Matthew Heath’s future in question as the agency gears up for a relaunch.
Only three years ago M&C Saatchi boss David Kershaw hailed Lida as “outstanding” as it reported headline profit before tax of £17.2m, up 17.3% year on year, as UK revenues rose 9%.
However, last year was anything but, with the loss of some Boots business and the Ikea Family loyalty club account. Meanwhile chief creative officer Trefor Thomas decided to throw in the towel just 18 months into the role.
Not that this is the first time Lida has been on the ropes. In the space of a week in January 2016, the agency lost both creative chief Nicky Bullard, who quit to join MRM Meteorite, and chief operating officer Louise Whitcombe, who switched to rival Havas Helia as group managing director.
Fox, who started her career at Brann London in 1998, before joining Lida in 2000 as group account director, returned to the agency in 2013 as managing director after spells at Partners Andrews Aldridge, Touch DDB and Adam & Eve DDB.
She was promoted to chief executive in 2014. M&C said she will now be pursuing new opportunities in the industry.
Fox is quoted as saying: “As hard as this decision has been it does feel the right time for a change, at a time when our industry is in seismic shift. Lida has been my second family for so many years, and I’m so proud of the team we have built and the legacy I leave behind. I wish this incredible business continued success as I move to pursue new opportunities.”
Meanwhile Heath, who started his career at JWT in the mid-Eighties before spells at Mountain View, WWAV Rapp Collins (now Rapp) and his own start-up Heath Wallace, joined M&C Saatchi Group in 2004 and is reportedly in talks with the agency over his future role.
While he has been chairman of Lida since then, he already leads strategy teams across the group. M&C said the new Lida proposition will be unveiled imminently.
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