Proximity London has turned to AIS London co-founder and former chairman Steve Stretton to fill in its vacant executive creative director role, until it can find a permanent replacement for Caitlin Ryan, who left last month.
Stretton effectively left AIS London in April to become a non-exec director, some 15 years after he set up the business with Stuart Archibald and John Ingall. It is understood he has now resigned this post, too.
Ingall was the first partner to leave, in 2010, and quit agency life altogether. Archibald followed at the tail end of 2011, recently launching another agency in his native Australia, Archibald Williams.
Stretton is expected to lead Proximity’s creative department of more than 40 people until the end of the year, with chief executive Dodds saying he is “close to a decision” on a permanent ECD. Ryan joined Karmarama in June.
The four creative partners will report to Stretton, who in turn will report directly to Dodds, who said: “There is no-one I would trust as much to manage and inspire our creative department during this interim period.”
One of the most highly respected creative directors in the DM industry, Stretton started his career as an art director at BBH’s direct marketing agency, Limbo, in the mid-Eighties under then creative director Mike Cavers.
In 1987, he joined Evans Hunt Scott, now Havas EHS, where he first met Ingall and Archibald.
The trio went their separate ways but came together again in 1998 to launch Archibald Ingall Stretton. The agency grew expontentially, fuelled by the capture of the O2 DM account, but retained its reputation for creative thinking.
Initially Havas had a minority stake in the business but increased its shareholding to take full control in 2008. The move triggered an overseas expansion strategy, spearheaded by Archibald, which saw the agency set up offices in Spain and New York. It also unlocked a financial bonus for the co-founders which ultimately led to their departures from the business.
Steve Stretton steps aside at AIS
Caitlin Ryan takes top Karma job
Proximity boosts management team
Archibald: ‘London here we come’
Archibald plots UK and Oz return
Are founders crucial to agency’s future?