M&C Saatchi picks non-exec directors ahead of review

M&C Saatchi: in the process of rebuilding board
M&C Saatchi: in the process of rebuilding board

Packaging company DS Smith's Gareth Davis and Centaur Media's Colin Jones join the board.

M&C Saatchi has appointed Gareth Davis, of packaging company DS Smith, and Colin Jones, of Centaur Media, as non-executive deputy chairman and non-executive director and chairman of the audit committee respectively.

They will take up the positions on 3 February and, once the company has recruited additional non-executive directors, Davis will carry out a full review of M&C Saatchi’s governance.

Davis has been chairman of DS Smith since 2012 and is a non-executive director of asset manager Gresham House. He was chairman of William Hill between 2010 and 2018. Before that he was chief executive of Imperial Tobacco Group, now known as Imperial Brands.

Jones is non-executive chairman of Centaur Media, which owns Oystercatchers, and non-executive director of City Lit, the adult education college. His career includes 20 years as finance director of Euromoney Institutional Investor. Before that he was a director at Price Waterhouse.

Davis and Jones join M&C Saatchi co-founders David Kershaw, Jeremy Sinclair and Bill Muirhead on the board, as well as chief financial officer Mickey Kalifa. It means the board does not yet have any women directors.

City analyst Peel Hunt issued an announcement saying that the appointments are both "strong". It added: "We hope to see positive momentum in FY20 trading during the full-year results announcement to allow the shares to gain positive momentum."

M&C Saatchi is rebuilding its board after Maurice Saatchi, one of its co-founders, quit in December along with all three of the non-executive directors Sir Michael Peat, Michael Dobbs and Lorna Tilbian. It followed the uncovering of accounting errors in the UK business that led to an £11.6m "adjustment" over two years.

Earlier this month the UK group announced it was merging its CRM agency Lida into the M&C Saatchi creative agency.

Jeremy Sinclair, chairman of M&C Saatchi, said: "We are delighted to welcome Gareth Davis and Colin Jones to the board. Both have extensive public company experience at the highest levels. We look forward to working with them to restore the company's health and reputation. We hope to be able to announce the additional non-executives in the near future."

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