Merger speculation surrounds the London office of WPP Group network Red Cell after a cull of senior management.

Eight staffers were shown the door, the four named casualties being chief executive Julian Sanders, who has been invited to stay in the lesser role of European strategic planning director; creative director John Trainor; new-business director Michelle Katz; and executive creative director Simon Frank.

The move is seen as a slimming of the shop before acquisition, with just twenty staff left. Four unknown London agencies are believed to be in talks with Red Cell about taking over the office.

The recent loss of Bank of Scotland business, now almost the sole preserve of Red Cell in Glasgow, is thought to have triggered the reorganisation with the reported approval of WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell. It began with the exit of the network’s (supposedly) D’Arcy-bound chief executive Luca Lindner.

Said John Wringe, Red Cell’s chief operating officer: “With Red Cell’s acquisition of a New York agency now imminent, we need a strong London agency and we haven’t got the time to wait for organic growth.”

In the meantime, the office will be overseen by an executive committee including Wringe, chief financial officer Kathryn Herrick and managing director Nick Kerr. Creative will be managed by Stuart Burnett, creative director at Perspectives Red Cell.

News source: CampaignLive (UK)