20 May 2006

TB writes...

Before finding myself a nice little in-house role in the late 90s, I worked for a few years at tech (knocking) shop Text 100. I still keep an eye of happenings at Text, not least because I own a few shares in the holding company, Next Fifteen Communications Group - which also owns brands such as Bite, August One, Inferno, and a fair bit of Lexis. I'm not sure what's going on, but I've noticed some senior comings and goings with the group of late...well, mostly goings.

Weber Shandwick recently made a right old fuss when it nicked James Warren out of Bite - where he'd been since the company's first opened its doors - and August One lost Sophie Brooks, its managing director; this not many months after the departure of the previous MD, Stuart Handley. Losing one might be regarded as fair enough, but surely losing two is careless?

Then I saw in the FT lastweek (you might need a subscription to see it) that Tom Lewis - alongside Mark Adams one of the Group's co-founders in 1981 - is leaving the company. Lewis had been the driving force behind taking the Text 100 Group (as it was then) public in the late 90s - not a decision popular with all, but a fair few made a pretty penny from it as during the dotcom boom its share soared to more than a fiver each. Lewis himself has resolutely hung onto most of his shareholding and still intends to. Mind you, with the shareprice now about 60p, it's probably best. It looks like he could do with the cash - despite owning the Morghew Park Estate and its many acres down in Kent, he's having to earn a crust selling spuds.

The final one (for now at least) is the departure of Andrew West from Text 100. West had been a Text 100 stalwart for a decade and a half, so maybe it was time for him to move on? Indeed according to the company-wide email from Aedhmar Hynes, Text 100's CEO, a review of the company's sales and new business function (of which West was a key member):

"...produced a unique opportunity for Andy to step out of our business completely, and it's one that he decided to seize upon"


Now, sure, West isn't the world's tallest fella but when you're telling the whole company about the departure of a senior member of the team, is there any need to take the piss?

"...his ability to charm is not just down to his ability to make friends quickly but also his reputation for going the extra mile. For a man with such short legs that extra mile was all the longer and therefore all the more appreciated."

Why not kick a man while he's down, eh? Funny, Hynes didn't mention West's departure in her deathly-dull blog, Monday Morning. Monday morning blues? Just try getting to the end of one of her posts...

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