THE DECIBEL LEVEL of noses being dislocated exceeded the pain threshold at Cordiant-owned below-the-line shop Bates Communications when news broke that not only had parent group Bates Dorland bought b-t-l agency Blue Skies but installed its controlling shareholder Graham Green as group vice-chairman with a seat on the parent board. A former chief executive of Incepta and a tough and seasoned campaigner, Green is charged with masterminding the group’s transformation into an integrated single agency, rebranded Bates UK.
The BC management team was not best pleased with this game of corporate leapfrog, triggering the walk-out of chairman Marcus Evans who had ambitions himself for the role handed to Green. Bates Dorland chairman Graham Hinton attempted to pour oil on troubled waters: 'Although we have some very good people who feel they have been passed over … the fact is that Graham brings us something we don’t already have. I have never changed my view about the direction we must take.' [There is a certain piquancy in Hinton’s justification. It must seem very like an action replay from January 1995 when he himself was leapfrogged by a b-t-l upstart - John Farrell of IMP - appointed over Hinton’s head to the chair of DMB&B UK, a move Hinton described to the press as 'slightly bizarre', before quitting amid acrimony and litigation. Vide Debrief, 3-14 & 45.]