CLEAVER SLAMS SMH REPORT
This from today's AdBrief....
Outgoing DDB Australia CEO Nick Cleaver (pictured) has slammed parts of a Sydney Morning Herald report about his resignation (Jan 26) as bearing "no relation to fact". Cleaver told Adbrief he was very happy with how DDB and clients had received the news. "But this [report] is very disappointing. When you have been at a place 17 years, done an awful lot there, worked with some great people and really enjoyed yourself … and now this." Cleaver said he wasn’t interviewed for the article. Adbrief contacted the SMH journalist but he declined to comment on Cleaver’s reaction. Cleaver said DDB’s press release on his departure was "fair and reasonable". "It talked about strong business performance and some of the things I have achieved over my time with DDB. That was an accurate story." Cleaver said he rang the SMH this morning (Jan 27) and challenged the article’s accuracy. He defended DDB’s record against an SMH assertion that "the news comes after a disappointing year for DDB" with a "lacklustre" new biz record. Cleaver said DDB was one of three short-listed for AdNews Agency of the Year. "And our new business record is fantastic at $70m with Dell, Speedo, Eveready, Audi Projects, Volkswagen Retail, Hutchison 3G Online, and projects from Schering-Plough, Eli Lily, AV Jennings and Arnott’s."
DDB Asia chief John Zeigler told Adbrief he spoke to the SMH for 20 minutes. "I’m not sure why [the journalist] took the ‘poor performance’ [angle]," Zeigler said. "My comment was, yes, we would love to have won more business … but we have been very successful." He said DDB across the board had performed very well last year and was poised for continued growth. He said DDB had been lucky to keep Cleaver for 17 years and wanted to talk to him about working with it in other markets. Cleaver quoted The Agency Register’s Peter McDonald, who summed up DDB Sydney’s 2005 performance as "a dazzling run of wins". Cleaver said DDB had had a "bumper of a year" and had lost no business in 2005. "Headcount’s up on 12 months, business is all really well set, everything’s ticking along nicely [so] I was knocked out y’day when I read that story." He said the article made no mention of DDB’s 50% ownership of OMD which won B&T Media Agency of the Year, nor DDB’s Tribal which won B&T Interactive Agency of the Year.
Cleaver said he’d been planning his exit from DDB for a little while: "It’s nothing that has happened overnight." Cleaver who, with Ken Meadows-Taylor, started Cleavers Organic Meats, said he had all but sold out of the venture so speculation as to his next move ruled out a farming future. Cleaver said he would work out his exit at DDB then take time off to plan the next decade of his career. "It’s the end of a chapter for me and I’m looking forward to the next."