Adam Ferrier, the last remaining founder of agenda-setting media strategy agency Naked Communications has quit the company.
Along with Mat Baxter, who left the agency in 2009, and Mike Wilson, who departed last month, Ferrier co-founded Naked Australia nine years ago.
The agency has also announced that Carl Ratcliff, who recently left BWM Melbourne, is to become CEO.
The agency’s point of difference was offering media strategy without media buying, which it argued led media agencies to recommend channels to clients based on self interest. The Australian operation came about four years after Naked was founded in London. But the company became Australian owned in 2008 when it was bought by the Photon Group, now Enero.
Ferrier – who is among the most respected strategists in Australia and was shortlisted as thinker of the year in June’s Mumbrella Awards – had a number of titles within the agency including global head of behavioural science and global head of strategy.
He is also an occasional panelist on the ABC’s adland show Gruen Planet.
There was no immediate word on where Ferrier would go after Naked. Previously he spent two years as a strategic planner at ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi.
Ferrier said in a statement: “I am incredibly proud of everything we’ve achieved at Naked, here and around the world. We created a wonderful working environment and we’ve produced oodles of world class, recognized and effective work for our amazing clients. Personally and professionally the time is right for me to leave Naked and pursue a new adventure which I’ll be announcing shortly.”
A qualified psychologist, Ferrier began his career in private practice and the NSW Department of Corrective Services. He has had a number of papers published in journals.
His departure – particularly so soon after the axing of fellow co-founder Mike Wilson, and the exit of global CEO Richard Dunmall, revealed by Mumbrella earlier this week – raises the suggestion that the agency is set for a dramatic shift of direction.
Although a major point of difference for the agency when it began was high end media thinking, most major media agencies have since invested in their own strategic capabilities, leaving Naked with a smaller potential market.
Enero boss Matthew Melhuish has previously suggested that he sees the agency’s future as a digital-centred agency. Melhuish – a co-founder of fellow Enero agency BMF – has also championed the group’s agencies working more closely.
Ferrier will be speaking at next week’s Festival of Branded Content & Entertainment which is organised by Mumbrella’s parent company Focal Attractions.
Mumbrella’s Tim Burrowes interviews Adam Ferrier in 2009:
Ratcliff: New Naked MD
Carl Ratcliff will be joining Naked Communications, Australia as CEO. With a career spanning twenty years, Carl brings a broad range of experience to Naked having led planning, creative and agency teams at TBWA/London and Elvis UK plus working client side at iconic British TV network Channel 5. Most recently he had a successful stint as Managing Director of BWM, Melbourne. Carl will be relieving Tim Parker, who has been acting CEO of Naked Australia since July.
Matthew Melhuish, CEO of Enero, commented: “Carl has the perfect set of credentials to run Naked Australia. He’s proven that he can lead a winning team and deliver outstanding results for clients plus he brings with him a fresh perspective and an internationally recognized track record for ground-breaking, innovative work. Carl is a great cultural fit for Naked but has also commercially ‘cut his teeth’ in the Australian market doing a great job at BWM. Carl will join the Naked team in early November.
We also sincerely thank Tim Parker for stepping into the fold at short notice in July and for his professionalism and stewardship of Naked over the past few months. Tim is a class act and we are looking at other ways to deploy him within the Enero group. ”
In an unrelated but equally important announcement Naked Communications’ Global Head of Behavioural Sciences, and local co-founder Adam Ferrier has announced his resignation. Of his departure Adam commented: “I am incredibly proud of everything we’ve achieved at Naked, here and around the world. We created a wonderful working environment and we’ve produced oodles of world class, recognized and effective work for our amazing clients. Personally and professionally the time is right for me to leave Naked and pursue a new adventure which I’ll be announcing shortly. I represent the first phase of Naked – my leaving will give the new management team some fresh air to create Naked next. I’m excited that Carl has accepted the role as CEO – I’ve had numerous chats with Carl recently, and he is no question the right man for the job. I wish him and Naked all the best.”
Matthew Melhuish commented: “We thank Adam for his hard work and tremendous dedication to Naked. He’s been instrumental in building one of the most powerful brands in the Australian marketing and communications landscape. We wish Adam all the very best for his next adventure.”
Other key Naked Australia leaders remain in place including Karla Pritchard – Managing Director Sydney, Tom Ward – Managing Director Melbourne and Simon Veksner – Creative Director.