Is UK restructure a backwards step for Carat?

Is UK restructure a backwards step for Carat?
Is UK restructure a backwards step for Carat?

So Rob Horler is no longer managing director of Carat, but then neither - yet again - is deputy managing director Steve Hobbs. What to make of it all?

A restructure in the UK, announced at the start of the month, catapults long-time consultant Tracy de Groose into Carat’s hot seat, while Hobbs becomes director of media operations for Aegis Media.

The decision to change group dynamics yet again, little more than a year after its last major shake-up, when Horler was drafted in from digital agency Diffiniti, asks more questions than it answers.

Cast your mind back to the summer of 2009 – it was raining… Gordon Brown was still in power, Chelsea had won the FA Cup, and Horler was hailed as an industry pioneer after becoming the first digital specialist to climb to the top of a UK agency.

"A sign of the times," came the cry, and Carat wallowed in plenty of praise and the widely held belief that finally here was an agency that had put its money where its mouth was, rather than just talking the talk about "putting digital at the heart of its business".

I remember sitting in Horler’s new office for more than an hour hearing about his plans for the place upon arrival. They amounted to no less than a fundamental agency overhaul and shift in the way it operates, encompassing everything from how accounts were serviced, clients billed, and teams organised to, ultimately, the very business of media itself.

He was passionate, articulate and considered, and with the business becoming increasingly commoditised, promised a welcome step-change at the UK’s largest independent media agency.

So why, 15 months later, is 41-year-old Horler moving to pastures new, and leaving the direction of Carat in the hands of de Groose, better known by her maiden name Tracy Darwen, who is by all accounts a very shrewd operator?

Continue reading the story about Carat's restructure here.

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