Firefly loses four directors after boardroom row

LONDON - Firefly Communications is down to just three directors this week following the departure of four senior staff amid a boardroom row.

Deputy managing director David Hargreaves and director of 10 years Kieran Moore have left alongside directors Annabel Abbs and Ricky Merry.

According to an email leaked to PRWeek, one key Firefly client said the departure of the four directors came as the result of a 'disagreement at board level', which saw Moore and Merry placed on indefinite leave earlier this month.

Firefly managing director Claire Walker and director Mark Mellor remain leading the agency and have bought out the equity of the firm they did not already own. While Merry was not an equity holding director, Moore, Abbs and Hargreaves owned 50% of the company between them.

'The issue was one of management style and who should control the business. I have no wish to give up my position as managing director,' said Walker.

She confirmed Moore and Merry had already left the firm, while Hargreaves and Abbs are working out their notice until the end of September. All four directors have signed confidentiality agreements and were unable to comment as PRWeek went to press.

Walker added that former Weber Shandwick technology CEO Cathy Pittham will be joining the agency as a director. Pittham left WS last November after which her role was split between Zoe Arden, as Weber Group MD, and Michelle McGlocklin as MD of Miller/Shandwick Technologies.

Walker added: 'Despite challenging trading conditions in our core sectors of technology, media and telecoms, our underlying performance in the UK is solid. Our priorities are the smooth transition of clients and continued development of our people and services.'

Her announcements follow a number of recent senior staff departures from the 90-strong agency.

Associate director Zena Martin left earlier this year to launch the UK office of US technology PR rival Blanc & Otus and fellow associate director Alison Jeremy quit in June to become BBC Ventures' first heads of press and PR.

Firefly, founded in 1988, has an annual fee income of £6m and lists clients including Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola and Fujitsu.

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