Gideon Spanier
Sep 29, 2023

‘Moray isn’t working’: M&C Saatchi’s poster tribute as CEO leaves after 40 years

MacLennan says he is “hanging up my advertising boots”.

Moray MacLennan: formally leaves M&C Saatchi this week
Moray MacLennan: formally leaves M&C Saatchi this week

M&C Saatchi said farewell to its departing chief executive, Moray MacLennan, after 40 years of service to the Saatchi brand with a fitting tribute – a spoof of the most famous poster in British political advertising.

The agency put the “Moray isn’t working” ad on a poster screen on a site at the top of Carnaby Street, close to M&C Saatchi’s Golden Square office, and took MacLennan to see it as a surprise send-off.

MacLennan, who formally leaves M&C Saatchi at the end of this week, originally joined Saatchi & Saatchi as a graduate trainee in September 1983 — just a few years after the agency created “Labour isn’t working” for the Conservatives ahead of their 1979 general election victory.

He went on to join M&C Saatchi, the breakaway from Saatchi & Saatchi, at its launch in 1995 and remained ever since, rising to chief executive of the stock market-listed company in January 2021.

MacLennan announced in July that he would be stepping down, shortly after Zillah Byng-Thorne joined as chair. She has become executive chair for up to 12 months as she looks for his successor.

“As I approach 40 years of Saatchi, it feels like the wrong time to move on in so many ways, but I have decided it is precisely the right time.” MacLennan wrote to staff in a memo at the time he announced he was leaving.

“We’ve come through our existential moment [when the company faced two takeover bids in 2022] and we are set – the right time to make way for new energy and new ideas.”

MacLennan signed off the memo, which was entitled “Hanging up my advertising boots”, by saying: “If you have a spare moment, do please say a short prayer for Wendy, my wife, who will be spending more time with me.”

The farewell poster was created by Andy Harris, head of design at M&C Saatchi London.

Campaign UK

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