M&C Saatchi UK Group is merging Lida into its eponymous creative agency and offering clients a fully integrated agency model headed by Camilla Kemp and Ben Golik – a move that will see the dissolution of the 20-year-old Lida agency brand.
Coming in the wake of a tumultuous time for the agency, the newly formed 225-strong entity will combine creativity with more data-driven capabilities, with no more job cuts planned to take place.
Lida chief executive Jonathan Goodman, who took on the role in November 2018, and M&C Saatchi managing director Tom Firth will remain part of the leadership team, helping the transition for clients and staff. However, chief marketing officer Kate Bosomworth is to leave the business.
Kemp, who was group managing director of M&C Saatchi, becomes chief executive, while Lida chief creative officer Golik will adopt the same title at the merged operation. Goodman and Firth's roles are yet to be confirmed.
M&C Saatchi has been undergoing a difficult period. It is facing an accounting scandal and lost the NatWest ad account and half of its board. An array of senior management also departed as a result of the agency offering voluntary redundancy to all of its staff.
But M&C Saatchi's management will hope that its latest reorganisation will mark a recovery. Speaking to Campaign, Kemp said the merger was important for advertisers, but added: "It’s also really important for our people to be future-proofed in what they do and for it not to be an optional thing to know about a broader mix of capabilities, but for it to be part of what they do and the things they feel literate in."
Kemp said that the new model also reflected the way M&C Saatchi and Lida were already working together with some clients. Another example of this unified approach has seen both agencies collaborate in the ongoing pitch for Transport for London.
Golik added: "The truth is that clients want us to be more joined together, so the questions we’re being asked by our current clients and prospects are more end to end and it seems to make sense to take those natural synergies of our business and formalise them."
However, he acknowledged that the phasing out of the Lida name was a bittersweet pill to swallow.
"After 20 glorious years, the Lida name will cease to be in London as a publicly facing trading agency," he said. "Which is in one way the natural way that the space is going, but in the other it is a sadness to see a brand going that’s had 20 really successful years, several years as Agency of the Year and in that time produced a proud body of work.
"But what it does mean is that we’re taking all of that data-driven, personalised customer-up work into the heart of the M&C Saatchi creative agency."
Moray MacLennan, M&C Saatchi’s worldwide chief executive, added: "The bringing together of data, creativity and technology is now table stakes. What will differentiate the new M&C Saatchi is a focus on the frontiers of change and the business leadership talents of Camilla and Ben. They have complementary skillsets and natural chemistry. We’re excited for the future."
Kemp has been at M&C Saatchi since 2010 in roles including managing partner and business director, while Golik joined Lida in May 2018.
Lida's US and Australian offices remain unaffected by the merger.