Shore, who has been at the helm for five years, is now on gardening leave with no job to go to.
The agency has lost two high-profile accounts and seen several senior-level staff changes this year.
Shore was this week widely praised by senior industry practitioners for being a ‘brilliant maverick’.
Cohn & Wolfe insisted it was Shore’s decision to leave the agency. But agency sources suggested that he was a victim of the tough financial culture that is believed to run through WPP.
Cohn & Wolfe lost its flagship account with mobile phone firm O2 in May. In July, it lost Starbucks to Fishburn Hedges. The agency has also seen the arrival and swift departure of several senior members of staff including MD of technology Gladys Elia and MD of corporate Andrew Sharkey.
Cohn & Wolfe deputy MD Caroline Maddock denied that the agency had experienced a difficult year.
She said: ‘We have won major new clients Volvic, Thisismoney.com and Atkins, as well as seeing organic growth with current clients COI, Unilever, AstraZeneca and Colgate. We have a strong board with more than 60 years’ worth of experience. I don’t believe that we have a higher turnover than other agencies.’
Healthcare MD Jacinta Collins will be taking on Shore’s day-to-day strategic and operational responsibilities alongside Maddock, who returned from a year’s maternity leave this summer.
Geoff Beattie, who joined in January as MD, is moving away from day-to-day management of the London office to provide strategic advice to international clients. He will head up a new service called C&W Consultancy. Cohn & Wolfe is on the hunt for a senior-level candidate. Shore was unavailable for comment.