Founders of M&C Saatchi quit in boardroom shake-up

M&C Saatchi is pushing through a management shake-up as it recovers from an accounting scandal

A trio of admen behind the legendary campaign that catapulted Margaret Thatcher to power have left the company in the wake of a boardroom bust up. 

M&C Saatchi  announced chief executive David Kershaw, executive chairman Jeremy Sinclair and executive director Bill Muirhead will all step down from the crisis-hit advertising group.

The executives known in the ad world as the "three amigos" are departing after M&C Saatchi became ensnared in an accounting scandal last year that sent shares plunging 45pc and prompted the resignation of Lord (Maurice) Saatchi and three directors.

A new leadership team will take charge of the firm's revival, with international boss Moray MacLennan becoming chief executive when Mr Kershaw leaves at the end of 2020.

Gareth Davis, the company's non-executive deputy chairman, will also take over from Mr Sinclair as the independent non-executive chairman.

Maurice Saatchi, who quit M&C Saatchi last year

It is the latest tumultuous episode for M&C Saatchi, which was revealed to have overstated its accounts by £14m after forensic accountants from PwC unearthed irregularities dating back to 2014.

That prompted the resignation of Lord Saatchi in December, who left the business alongside non-executives Lord Dobbs - author of political thriller House of Cards - Sir Michael Peat and Lorna Tilbian, 

Along with his brother Charles, Lord Saatchi was famed for his work for the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher and election adverts, such as the 2015 “wrecking ball” campaign where posters urged voters not to let Labour wreck the economy.

The three executives - Mr Kershaw, Mr Sinclair and Mr Muirhead - worked with the brothers at their previous advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi.

That company created the infamous advert 'Labour isn't working'  depicting a snaking dole queue, which helped Margaret Thatcher become Prime Minister in 1979.  

The trio went on to team up with the brothers again, forging M&C Saatchi in 1994.  

Shares in M&C Saatchi have been suspended after it missed a September deadline to file its annual results to December 2019. 

The agency announced last month that pressure from the pandemic had caused pre-tax profits to fall 60pc to £2m for the six months to June. 

Revenues also fell 30pc to £149m, as the "extremely challenging economic conditions" from coronavirus forced it to draw on government support in the UK, America, Australia and Singapore.