WPP's Lerwill Steps in as Flynn Quits Aegis to Run Rentokil

07 February 2005

Foxy Aussie Doug Flynn, ceo of media and market research specialist Aegis Group, is not one to place all his eggs in one basket.

And certainly not his personal career ova.

Over the past few weeks while the marketing press was happily speculating that Flynn was set to jump ship for Australian media giant John Fairfax, he was teeing-up for the top job at ailing UK conglomerate Rentokil, whose activities range from contract cleaning via security services to pest control.

Flynn will depart on April 4, vacating the ceo hotseat to Robert Lerwill, for ten years (until 1996) finance director at WPP Group and currently an Aegis non-executive director.

"There will be a suitable handover period, which will ensure stability within the business," according to Aegis chairman Lord Colin Sharman. As to Lerwill's hiring: "Robert has extensive experience of the media world, both internationally and in the UK - key credentials to his appointment.

"Importantly, as a longstanding non-executive director of Aegis, he also knows the business and its management well, ensuring continuity and further development of the company and its growth programme. Aegis is in a strong position to develop and Robert will bring further momentum to this."

Rentokil announced Sunday that Flynn (55) will replace recently ousted ceo James Wilde. Chairman Brian McGowan, currently doubling the ceo role while searching for a successor, believes Flynn will bring a fresh approach to the business.

"We've had a pretty exhaustive search to get the right person in place," McGowan said during a conference call. "We can see advantages in having someone who isn't from our industry."

Flynn, whose hairy-chested approach to management is legendary, is expected to ruffle a large number of feathers at Rentokil, whose shares have lost 21% over the past twelve months.

He will receive a salary of £800k ($1.51m; €1.17m) annually plus bonuses linked to group performance.

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK) and Bllomberg.com; additional content by WARC staff