The Leith Agency has announced that Newhaven co-founder Gareth Howells has rejoined the business to partner with its creative manager Phil Evans.
The shock move sees Howells leave the business he opened as a break-away from The Leith Agency, taking the Tennent’s advertising account, still held by Newhaven today, with them.
He will work alongside Evans, reporting to creative director Gerry Farrell, who was his creative director when he initially worked at The Leith Agency in the Nineties.
It is understood that Farrell’s recent disciplinary issues taken by the agency following some comments made on Twitter in relation to the ‘Incredinburgh’ campaign have no relation to the hiring of Howells.
Howell’s had moved to become new business director of Newhaven in recent years.
Gerry Farrell described the hiring as an indication that the Leith Agency was “continually striving to improve and invest in its product.”
He added of Howells: “He’s one of those Trumpeter Swans David Ogilvy used to wax lyrical about. He's got the lot: natural creative flair; positive energy; business intuition; client empathy; digital cunning; executional excellence. I could go on but I'd just embarrass him. He's the creative partner Phil Evans deserves and I'm excited and delighted to have him back in Leith."
Howell’s said that he was “extremely proud” of Newhaven: “I'd like to think I have made a small contribution. We made a clear decision two years ago to manage succession in the creative department and Chris [Watson] and Rufus [Wedderburn] continue to go from strength to strength, building on what I was privileged to start. I'm looking forward to a fresh challenge and sharpening my pencil again in the Leith creative department. I wish Newhaven continuing success both creatively and commercially.”
Gareth learnt his trade at The Leith Agency back in the 1990's on Irn Bru and Tennent’s Lager, under the guidance of Gerry Farrell, before going on to become founder and Creative Director at Newhaven.
Jonathan Shinton, founder at Newhaven described Howells as having been “an integral part” of the agency’s success since its formation 10 years ago: “He has always done what he thinks is best for the business, most demonstrably highlighted when he stood down as creative director two years ago to hand over the reins to Chris and Rufus. Since then he has ably led the agency's new business. But he has missed the cut and thrust of the creative department in recent months, and for once has put himself first. We respect his decision and wish him all the very best.”
Shinton added: “On a personal note he is one of the most instinctively creative people I have ever worked with and a 17 year working relationship is testament to that. He will leave Newhaven at Christmas to take up his new post at Leith. His shareholding within the company has been returned and purchased in full by Newhaven. All completed in a straightforward way and in an amicable nature. Not unlike Gareth himself.”
Another of Newhaven’s founders, Zane Radcliffe, Howell’s creative partner, also departed the agency last summer, with Shinton and Ken Dixon the sole remaining founders left at the business.