All is not happy inside the advertising
world of John Singleton with a number of key personnel, led by Chris
Mort, defecting from Singleton Ogilvy & Mather to McCann Erickson,
as you can see from this SMH report two weeks ago.

Similarly,
a number of key clients have decided to take their business elsewhere
although, as with most advertising businesses, the client churn is high
and Singo has also added new clients, like the $60 million
Commonwealth Bank account.

The most dramatic departure was
Tooheys which had been loyal for many years. The sequence of events has
amused some insiders because on hearing the bad news, Singo did his
usual thing and got on the phone to demand answers. The senior beer
executive at the other end of the line told the colourful Sydney
identity that this was only the second time they’d heard from Singo in
many moons, so it was time to move on.

The other interesting
word from inside the bunker is the way Singo works his staff-to-revenue
ratios. The conventional wisdom is that Singo gets rid of the worst 10%
of his staff each year to ensure standards remain high.

Another
motive being mentioned is that letting staff go shortly before the end
of the financial year allows you to report better ratios. But if new
people are hired early in the next financial year, the one-off snapshot
is not exactly accurate.

Singo’s Telstra contract comes up next
year and it will be interesting to see whether new CEO Sol Trujillo
warms to the lad. And will Telstra’s sponsorship of the Alan Jones
breakfast program on Singo’s 2GB continue once the government loses
control of the telco? Don’t hold your breath.

Peter Fray

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