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M&C Saatchi appoint new CEO with a digital background

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M&C Saatchi announced yesterday that it has drafted in Tom Bazeley, founder of the digital agency Lean Mean Fighting Machine (LMFM), as its new CEO. Bazeley, who replaces Camilla Harrisson, who quit last week to lead Anomaly London, co-founded LMFM in 2004 with Dave Bedwood, Sam Bell and Dave Cox. LMFL was sold to M&C Saatchi for a shade above £6 million earlier this year, a move that surprised those who had always seen LMFM as the antithesis of the “Corporate agency.” Bazeley's appointment marks not only the first time the agency has been led by someone with a background in digital, but the third CEO appointment in as many years.

M&C Saatchi group chief executive, Lisa Thomas, said Bazeley is “A born leader,” with an “Irrepressible thirst for great creative work and the strength of mind to make a difference.”

Bazeley will be reporting to group chief executive, Lisa Thomas, who said of his appointment that Bazeley is “A born leader,” with an “Irrepressible thirst for great creative work and the strength of mind to make a difference.” See adds that he was earmarked for the role because “His eagerness to do things differently and his entrepreneurial spirit,” is a good fit with the agency's ethos. Bazeley himself, adds that everyone he's met from the agency so far, from the recent graduates right up to the top brass, “Has a clear hunger to do great things in the post-digital world.” He feels that “Armed with the spirit of Lean Mean Fighting Machine, it’s going to be exciting leading them into it."

Lean Mean Fighting Machine 2019

The appointment of Bazeley proves that anything really is possible in the advertising industry. When LMFM 'sold-out', it was widely assumed that, whilst there were official claims that the LMFM spirit would be kept alive, the four founders wouldn't be playing pivotal roles in the agency going forward. Indeed, they even produced a spoof film (above) that seemed to reflect these views. It seemed to say they were fully aware that they'd sold their souls, but they were quite happy to admit it and live with the consequences. The genuine shock of Harrisson's surprise departure, however, appears to have shaken things up at M&C Saatchi, and has led to a bold (and quite prescient) decision that should prove an incredibly smart move for the agency.

When M&C Saatchi and LMFM formally merge on the 20th of October, the agency will absorb LMFM's client roster, which includes Unilever, De Beers and Land Rover

When M&C Saatchi and LMFM formally merge on the 20th of October, Bedwood and Ball will be reporting to M&C Saatchi's executive creative director, Elspeth Lynn, and Cox will become the agency's chief innovation officer. M&C Saatchi will also absorb the digital agency's client roster, which includes Unilever, De Beers and Land Rover. The agency, which currently employs a staff of 40 creative individuals, will be moving from its current base in Camden to M&C Saatchi's Golden Square headquarters later this month.

Official Lean Mean Fighting Machine Website

Official M&C Saatchi Website

Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer, musician and lean mean fighting machine (ok, not so much) from Kidderminster in the UK.

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