New Jaywing CEO ditches Epiphany brand in shake-up

Andrew FryattJaywing is axing its Epiphany brand and folding it into the main agency as part of new chief executive Andrew Fryatt’s plans to streamline the business for growth. 

The company insists the new model, to be relaunched in the autumn, will give clients better access to its full range of “specialists and sector expertise with data, creativity and performance sitting at the core”.

However, it has conceded that the restructure is likely to result in what it called a “small number” of redundancies in the UK, although there are no plans to cut back on its Australian division.

The move follows the departure of founder Martin Broddy in January and the sudden exit of CEO Rob Shaw, who left in March. Zen Internet managing director Fryatt (pictured), a former CEO of Ideal Shopping Direct and COO of Carphone Warehouse, was appointed to succeed Shaw the same month.

He said: “Since joining, I have been impressed by the organisation as a whole and its exceptional people. However, it became clear that we need a structure that enables us to support growth across all of the disciplines offered by our specialists and to better respond to unprecedented levels of transformation right across our industry and in our client sectors.

“The structure of the UK business has previously been based on acquisition and geography, but the experience of the last few months has underlined the need for change. We need to work more collaboratively, adapting and evolving our offer and assembling our many specialisms to better meet our clients’ challenges.”

Jaywing bought search marketing specialist Epiphany in 2014 in a deal which was eventually worth about £18m. The agency had been founded in 2005 by Shane Quigley and Robin Skidmore and was led by Shaw at the time.

Shaw was promoted to CEO of the Jaywing Group in 2015 when the company had just posted a 39% increase in gross profit to £30.1m with a fourth consecutive period of Ebitda growth, up 75% on its 2014 results.

However, more recently the business has struggled. In 2019, it blamed “Brexit jitters” for a £6m slump, while its most recent results saw a 20% dip in profits to £12m.

Nevertheless, Fryatt is upbeat. He added: “We believe that this is positive news for our existing client base, and will also allow for better knowledge sharing and working practices between our teams. I believe we are extremely well placed to continue to offer precisely what our clients want and need right now – brilliant creativity, sophisticated expertise in data, performance marketing and the application of technology to meet marketing challenges. I am looking forward to continuing to work with the fantastic talents within the agency.”

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