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James Murphy and David Golding depart Adam&Eve/DDB to get back to 'frontline client work'


By The Drum Reporters, Editorial team

December 3, 2018 | 3 min read

Adam&Eve/DDB co-founders James Murphy and David Golding are leaving the agency to launch a new "creative business".

James Murphy

James Murphy told The Drum the pair are keen to get back to "frontline client work"

The duo's departure comes 10 years after they started the agency with Ben Priest and Jon Forsyth and five since they sold up to Omnicom.

Priest and Forsyth have both already left since the founders completed their £110m earn-out two years ago, and earlier this year Murphy and Golding tendered their resignations having formed a plan to get back to "frontline client work" with a new venture.

"If your agency has grown as fast and large as we did, then you continue to get pulled away from the frontline client work," Murphy told The Drum. "And that is what we both do best. We like working on client business and solving business problems.

“When we first launched Adam&Eve in 2008 it was in the teeth of the financial crisis, and we’re doing another launch because there's never has been a better time to try again.”

That launch is likely to be at least a year away given the nature of the pair's notice periods and non-compete causes within their contracts.

On the prospect of them taking with them the client that has come to define the agency over the last decade, John Lewis, Murphy said: "I very much doubt that. Most unlikely."

What he has confirmed about the new venture is that he and Golding will be the two founding partners, "working with creatives" as any agency does.

"10 years ago when we first launched our agency we were seven people trying to kill our own lunch, and now there are almost 700 people waiting for others to kill lunch for them! We have announced a multi-layered management team and Adam&Eve/DDB is in great shape. For us is is time for change.”

Their fellow founders have gone in slightly more unexpected directions since leaving the agency. After quitting in February 2017 Forsyth re-emerged this summer as strategy partner at Troika/Mission Group while Priest bowed out of the industry altogether earlier this year.

In a statement, Adam&Eve/DDB said: "James Murphy and David Golding have today announced that they will be leaving the agency and their roles as group chief executive and group chief strategy officer, respectively, in May 2019. They founded Adam&EveDDB alongside Jon Forsyth and Ben Priest in 2008 and after 10 years are leaving to pursue new challenges. The leadership team of Tammy Einav, Mat Goff (joint chief executives), Alex Hesz (chief strategy officer) and Rick Brim (chief creative officer) remain in place."

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