Howell to quit Chime in November

Lord Bell's right hand man and the person tipped to take over at Chime Communications upon Bell's retirement is to start his own firm with former Chime director Robin Price.

Rupert Howell, the founder of Chime's advertising subsidiary HHCL and joint CEO of the quoted group, is to stand down from the Chime board in November with a view to starting his own business afresh early next year.

He told PRWeek he was likely to start a company with Price, a co-founder of HHCL and Chime's business development director until he quit last June.

Details of Howell's plans are sketchy but it is thought he has ruled out starting another ad agency. He is also thought unlikely to remain involved in PR but said: 'Having started an ad agency then worked for a group that includes PR, direct marketing, research and so on, I have a wide view of the sector.' It is believed his new firm may sell consultancy advice on how best to integrate the various marketing disciplines.

Howell is to be replaced in the Chime joint CEO role by former group MD Chris Satterthwaite.

The announcement comes as Chime confirmed it was in talks to sell HHCL to minority shareholder WPP and announced half-year results, which were consistent with City expectations and a trading statement issued in May.

Revenues fell to £38.1m compared with £50.9m for the same period last year. Pre-tax profits before exceptional items halved to £4.6m.

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