Stef Calcraft, ex-UK Chief, quits Dentsu Aegis

Calcraft will be succeeded by Nick Waters, who is at present the Chief Executive of Asia Pacific

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Stef Calcraft has stepped down as Dentsu Aegis’ Executive Chairman for the UK and Ireland. He will be leaving the agency group less than a year after he joined.
Calcraft will be succeeded by Nick Waters, who is at present Chief Executive of Asia Pacific.

Dentsu Aegis Chief Executive EMEA Giulio Malegori said, “We thank Stef for his contribution–he leaves the UK business on a strong footing with a dynamic new leadership team in place.

“Nick has a strong track record of successfully leading a complex, diverse region for Dentsu Aegis Network and will help to set up the UK business for the future providing continuity for our clients, our people and the business, by assuming the executive chairman role.” 

When Calcraft, Co-founder of the independent agency Mother, joined the advertising conglomerate he was not seen as the obvious choice. Despite his limited experience in media agencies, he was roped in to run the 4,000-strong UK and Ireland operations. 

Nick Waters, the long-serving British Chief Executive of Dentsu Aegis Network Asia-Pacific, will succeed Calcraft. 

This year, Dentsu Aegis Network had a mixed record. It lost the UK government’s £150m media buying account and other major accounts, including GoCompare.co.uk and the AA.
However, it bagged Co-operative Group and Heineken and picked up Intel, while retaining Microsoft.

Calcraft’s departure comes as Jerry Buhlmann steps down as Global Chief Executive of Dentsu Aegis Network and Tim Andree, the Global Chairman, takes over as Executive Chairman.
In an interview earlier this month, he said he felt “very at home” at Dentsu Aegis Network’s business–which includes agencies such as Carat, Vizeum, iProspect and Merkle–but admitted the business was “not yet match-fit”.

Calcraft played down his lack of experience in media agencies and pointed instead to his knowledge of brands, particularly at Unilever, where he was a graduate trainee and rose to be a Persil brand manager. “I’m not a media guy. I’m not an ad guy either. I’m a brand and consumer business guy," he said. 

The management shake-up comes in the wake of a number of senior departures for the advertising network. Last month, it had been reported that Dentsu Aegis Network's Chief Executive Jerry Buhlmann was to step down, whereas in October, 360i's Chief James Townsend also left the agency to join Forward3D. The network then announced a new leadership team for the UK and Ireland with three promotions and two appointments.

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