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Al Young parts company with FCB as Jones restructures agency

LONDON - Al Young, creative director of FCB London, is leaving after two years, saying his heart is no longer in the job. His departure comes as the agency restructures to take a more integrated approach, with a number of staff redundancies.

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Young joined FCB in September 2003 from HHCL, where he was creative director, and will now be "taking a breather for a couple of months" and perhaps "resurrecting some conversations" he had with other agencies during in the summer.

The changes, which are expected to result in four or five job losses, at the agency follow the arrival of Nigel Jones, who joined as chief executive in August from Omnicom-owned direct agency Claydon Heeley Jones Mason.

Jones has been tasked with reconstructing and repositioning FCB London, part of the Interpublic Group, as well as filling the gap left by John Banks, its previous chairman and chief executive who left in July.

The agency saw its billings fall by 23% during 2004 to £67.6m, according to Nielsen Media Research, and is now seeking to create a more integrated and multi-media approach.

"Al is a great guy and a talented creative, but FCB is moving into more integrated areas hence the re-structuring of the agency," Jones said.

Young said: "I think the arrival of Nigel Jones is great news for FCB, he has very interesting plans and he is absolutely focused on building a smarter agency structure.

"Nigel and I have talked a lot since his arrival. As we talked, it became increasingly clear that an amicable parting was going to be the best solution for both of us. My heart wasn't really in FCB any more and FCB now needs a different type of creative director."

Scott Hollingsworth, FCB Worldwide's European head, recently announced he was leaving the agency as part of a cull of top-level roles across the network.

The network also said that Ben Barnes, Asia Pacific and Africa chief executive officer, is leaving "to pursue other interests".

In addition, Gene Bartley, chief executive office of North America, is to retire next year.

All three roles will be replaced with a newly created post of president and CEO of FCB International, which will be filled by Rafael de Guzman, the group's Latin American president and CEO.

In November, Interpublic posted a third-quarter operating loss of $96.8m and an organic revenue decline of 2.6%. Recent client losses across the group have included General Motors and L'Oreal.

FCB has renamed its local offices global centres of excellence, initially including the UK as well as other European bases in France, Austria and Germany.

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