MediaCom execs quit to start new direct response agency

LONDON -Two leading MediaCom executives - Clive Howse and Lee Boden - are creating a breakaway agency that will act as a consultancy to blue chip clients as well as planning and buying media.

Clive Howse, joint managing director of MediaCom Direct
Clive Howse, joint managing director of MediaCom Direct

Howse, joint managing director of MediaCom Direct, and Boden, former head of search at MediaCom, aim to have the new, as yet unnamed, venture operational by November this year.

The agency will be based around the premise of management information, with both Howse and Boden having a strong grounding in how firms can use data and direct response to their advantage.

The pair will take an equal stake in the venture, with new employees likely to be offered a share-incentive scheme. The agency will initially aim for clients with annual media spend of £3m and under.

Howse said that, despite running a large department at MediaCom, he has grown frustrated at not enjoying "a huge amount of control".

"The most important thing for me is not to be floating around having strategy meetings and schmoozing - that doesn't interest me," he added, referring to his new venture.

"I want to sit across the table from a client and tell them how to make more money for their business."

Howse joined MediaCom as a press buyer from Publicis' media department in 1991, before establishing MediaCom's entertainment arm.

In 2000, he became deputy managing director of MediaCom Direct and then joint managing director in 2005, succeeding David Kyffin, who moved to GroupM.

Boden joined MediaCom as associate director in 2006 from the media department of digital agency Wheel and was subsequently promoted to head of search and affiliates.

"The premise of the agency is to provide information to manage a business more efficiently," said Howse. "What we're doing is bigger than a media plan. Sometimes the issue isn't a media one, but a different problem with the business. So we'll offer a mix of consultancy, planning and buying."

Darren Barber, the other joint managing director of MediaCom Direct, will take sole responsibility for the division after Howse's departure in October, while MediaCom has hired Craig Mytton, group head of search at digital agency Cheeze, to replace Boden as head of search.

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