As chairman of Naked Communications, Mr. Wilkins had a global role which had become less relevant, as most of the company's growth has been happening locally. London has won Coca-Cola, Virgin Atlantic, De Beers, Danone and Mars this year, and New York and Sao Paulo have also been winning business.
Mr. Wilkins has been on sabbatical leave since he moved with his family back to London from New York in the summer. Since then, his tweets have been mostly about soccer and music. According to a statement, he is moving on "to explore new horizons," and Mr. Wilkins, in an email, revealed only, "No plans yet."
The trio of founders – all former executives at Omnicom Group's media agency New PHD -- started Naked in London in 2000 with financial backing from Mother and became well-known as the innovative communications-planning shop that pioneered the concept of media neutrality. A New York office opened in 2006, and the agency was bought by Australian group Photon in 2008 for around $37 million. Photon rebranded as Enero in April 2012 following financial difficulties.
Mr. Wilkins moved to Sydney, Australia, where Photon was based, in 2009, and then to New York from 2011 to 2013. The group also has offices in Melbourne, Sao Paulo and Tokyo. The London office, which became HyperNaked after merging with sister agency Hyper in 2011, changed back to its original name only last week.
He said in a statement, "After 13 and a half years at Naked it feels like the right time to move on an explore new horizons. I've put my heart and soul into Naked and leave with amazing memories. The best part has been the chance to work with some of the most brilliant, creative and inspiring people in the industry."
Mr. Collin said in the statement, "Jon will be missed by the Naked family and leaves with our unwavering support. The timing is right for him and I have no doubt that he will continue to do great things."
Naked's third founding partner, John Harlow, had left Naked earlier and died in August.
Matthew Melhuish, CEO of Enero Group, said in the statement, "Jon is a unique figure in the industry; a creative thinker, straight talker and a genuinely nice guy. Loved by clients and staff from Sydney to London, Jon is leaving Naked but his unique way of looking at problems and desire to challenge the status quo lives on in Naked's DNA."
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