MG OMD pair quit to launch strategic planning shop
LONDON – Andrew Stephens and Ben Hayes, respectively marketing director and planning director of Manning Gottlieb OMD, have quit the agency to found their own communications planning start-up.
The agency, the latest in a series to emerge this year, aping the format started by Naked in 2000, will launch in January with two MG OMD clients, Virgin Mobile and Ann Summers.
The buying business for both advertisers will continue to be held by MG OMD.
The departure of Stephens and Hayes from MG OMD is understood to be amicable and the parties are said to be in talks about the Omnicom-owned agency taking a stake in the venture.
News of the launch follows the emergence of Rise last year, which was set up by former Optimedia CEO Simon Matthews; and Tim Elton and Geoff Seeley who quit Vizeum, then BBJ, to launch Tonic.
Hayes joined MG OMD in 2001 from Saatchi & Saatchi, where he was group media director, to become its first strategic planning director. He began his media career in 1991 when he joined Yershon Media, which later merged with Carat. He also worked at full-service agency Ammirati Puris Lintas.
Stephens joined the agency in 1999 as associate director and was promoted to group media director soon after, being appointed to the agency's board at the same time. He also joined from Saatchi & Saactchi, where he spent four years working on accounts including Toyota, Lexus and Xfm.
Stephens began his career at Austin West, working in new business with MD Nick West.
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