Saatchi & Saatchi London has appointed James Denton-Clark, the chief executive of Accenture Song, as its CEO.
Denton-Clark will join the business in July and take over from Chris Kay, who is relocating overseas after a little more than a year working at the agency.
Denton-Clark becomes part of the Saatchi & Saatchi leadership team, which comprises Franki Goodwin, chief creative officer, Richard Huntington, chief strategy officer, Jess Ringshall, chief production officer, and Sarah Jenkins, managing director.
The above will now report to Denton-Clark, while he will report directly to Annette King, chief executive of Publicis Groupe UK.
“James is an accomplished creative leader with a great passion for what we do,” King said. “Over the past decade, he has led transformative client partnerships, growing brands and nurturing talent. Saatchi & Saatchi is a special agency and James’ curiosity, and entrepreneurial leadership style will energise the agency.”
King added that the business will go on to “even bigger and better things with James at the helm”.
Denton-Clark has spent the past 12 years at Karmarama – now Accenture Song – and led the agency through its sale to Accenture in 2016 and the subsequent integration.
Prior to his role as chief executive, he was chief client officer and managing director at the shop. He also spent four-and-a-half years at BMB as group account director after joining from DDB, where he spent three years as business director.
“As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be at Saatchis,” Denton-Clark said. “They’re the original creative entrepreneurs. There's magic there that endures, and is still there in spades today. I can't wait to belong to that, partnering with Franki, Jess, SJ and Richard in the next chapter.”
Saatchi & Saatchi announced Kay’s hire in June 2021; he then joined that November from 72andSunny.
In May 2022, his role was extended to include leading Publicis Groupe's pan-agency creative practice. This resulted in him effectively succeeding Magnus Djaba, to whom he previously reported and who was promoted to global chief client officer in November 2021.
Commenting on his departure, King said Kay had made a big impact and that the agency has benefitted from his "impressive energy and leadership".
Kay said: “This has been a tough decision as the effort of the Saatchi crew and the momentum over the last 18 months has been pretty stellar.
“That said, sometimes you need to take a breath and make a life decision about what makes you the happiest and for my family, that’s moving back overseas.
“Until I leave in July, I will give it my all to help the Saatchi brand, and the broader creative practice, continue to shine in any way I can.”
In December, Saatchi & Saatchi UK has hired three creative directors to work alongside chief creative officer Franki Goodwin.