13 October 2015, London: Independent integrated agency Four Communications Group (Four) today announced that it has appointed John Farrell, former President and CEO of Publicis Groupe Specialised Agencies and Marketing Services (SAMS), as its new chairman.
The appointment comes at a significant time for the agency. In July 2015 Four successfully secured a £10m investment of equity finance from BGF (Business Growth Fund), the UK’s most active provider of growth capital to small and mid-sized businesses. Since then the agency has acquired leading financial and professional services public relations agency Broadgate Mainland and Welsh design and public relations agency Francis Balsom Associates, bringing the Group’s projected fee income to more than £20 million in 2015.
With a career spanning more than 20 years, John is an expert in marketing, communications and advertising. Prior to his position at the Publicis Groupe, he was president and CEO of D’Arcy Worldwide, one of the top ten global advertising and communication networks. He is currently serving in non-executive positions for several advertising, media, marketing services and retail businesses including Albion, DWA, Adjust Your Set, Octopus, Cognifide and Acceleration, and provides consultancy services to organisations such as The European Golf Tour, Quintessentially and Saatchi & Saatchi.
John succeeds one of the original Four Communications co-founders, Chris O’Donoghue, who after 14 years as Chairman is retiring but remains a significant shareholder in the Group.
Nan Williams, Four Communications group chief executive said: “John’s appointment coincides with a record-breaking year for Four. His expertise, experience and personal qualities will be hugely significant to the future of the business as we surge forward with our ambitious growth plans. We would also like to thank Chris for all of his invaluable knowledge, insight and support since the inception of the agency 14 years ago, and look forward to continuing our relationship with him as a supportive shareholder in the company going forward.”
John Farrell said: “Several things attracted me to Four Communications. The quality of the leadership team and the level of their ambition to take the business to the next level is really energising. The culture and quality within the organisation is something you can feel when you walk in - and I believe I can add further to that. And the belief that the Business Growth Fund has demonstrated in the business with its recent significant investment and the inevitable additional growth opportunities that this will fuel, makes it an incredibly exciting time for me to step in as chairman and help the business fulfil its potential. It’s a great business with great growth prospects!"
In addition to its London headquarters, Four also has offices in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It employs some 250 staff and has more than 600 clients including Etihad Airways, The Man Booker Prizes, Sotheby’s International Realty, InterContinental Hotels Group and American Express. Its key services include public relations, public affairs, marketing, sponsorship, digital & content and media planning & buying with a particular focus on the property, travel, culture, healthcare, financial services and public sectors.
Nan Williams: 07774 741 518
Notes to editors:
About John Farrell
John Farrell is currently serving as a non-executive director / chairman for several advertising, media, marketing services and retail businesses, including Albion, DWA, Adjust Your Set, Octopus, Cognifide and Acceleration.
He also provides consultancy services to The European Golf Tour, Saatchi & Saatchi, Quintessentially, Leagas Delaney and an assortment of other companies. John was responsible for Publicis Groupe Worldwide Specialised Agencies and Marketing Services (SAMS) from 2003 to 2009 and before that was president and CEO of D’Arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles Worldwide.
John is also honorary president of the Institute of Sales Promotion, founder member of the Direct Marketing Association of Great Britain and a member of the American Advertising Association Hall of Fame.. He has a BA (Hons) in Business Studies from Nottingham Trent University, where he is now visiting professor of marketing.
2011 – 2015 Consultant – non-executive and consultancy services to a range of advertising, media, marketing services and retail businesses
2003-2009 President & CEO, Publicis Groupe Specialised Agencies and Marketing Services (SAMS) (one of the world’s top four communications groups)
2000-2003 President & CEO, D’Arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles Worldwide
1999 President, D’Arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles Transatlantic
1996-1999 President & CEO, D’Arcy North America
1994-1996 Chairman & CEO, D’Arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles Group UK
1990-1993 President & CEO, IMP International
1985-1990 Joint CEO, IMP London
About Four Communications Group:
Four Communications Group is a leading integrated agency with offices in London, Edinburgh, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The company employs some 250 staff and has more than 600 clients including Etihad Airways, The Man Booker Prizes, Sotheby’s International Realty, InterContinental Hotels Group and American Express. Its key services include public relations, public affairs, marketing, sponsorship, digital & content & media buying with a particular focus on the property, travel, culture, healthcare, financial services and public sectors.
BGF (Business Growth Fund) is the UK’s most active provider of growth capital to small and mid-sized businesses having backed close to 100 entrepreneurs, with over £600 million of long-term capital, in four years. BGF’s team of over 70 investors, operating from eight regional offices in the UK, make initial investments of between £2m and £10m and then actively look to provide additional funding to support further growth. The investment provided is typically in the form of equity in return for a minority equity stake.
BGF is an independent company with capital of up to £2.5 billion, backed by five of the UK’s main banking groups - Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, and Standard Chartered. BGF works closely with the banks and its investments often help to unlock bank debt for companies, but BGF is managed completely autonomously with a wholly independent management team.