SAATCHI'S FAREWELL MISSIVE

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Here is Maurice Saatchi's letter to Saatchi & Saatchi Co. employees:

To everyone at Saatchi:

For twenty-five years I have had the privilege of working with you to create and build Saatchi & Saatchi.

Throughout those years, your loyalty to the Company in both good and hard times made me feel uniquely blessed.

The letters so many of you have sent me during the past week, urging me to stay as Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising have been inspiring. I will always treasure them.

So it is with sadness that I must tell you I cannot accept the offer of that position, and instead must sever my connections with the Company we have built together.

You deserve to know the reasons.

Saatchi & Saatchi has been taken over. No bid for the Company has been announced. No offer has been made. No premium has been paid. No shareholder vote has been taken. But, make no mistake, Saatchi & Saatchi is under new control.

The new owners-a group of shareholders owning around 30 per cent of the shares-have found a simple, if crude method of controlling the Company. By threatening the Directors with an Extraordinary General meeting, at which they could outvote others, they have given the Directors their orders. "Take your Chairman into a corner and shoot him quickly-we don't want the fuss of a public trial."

I have watched in dismay as some of our longest client relationships have been jeopardised, the wishes of key clients ignored, and the loss of their business assessed as "a price worth paying."

I have listened in despair as the views of leading executives of this Company were dismissed as "irritating" and "irrelevant."

And, for the first time in 25 years, found myself in an advertising company where the term "advertising man" was being used as an insult.

I have observed how after seeing the value of their shares rise by 17 per cent since the Spring against a 2 per cent fall for the FTSE 100 Index, this shareholder group nevertheless went ahead and plunged the Company into a period of uncertainty and instability.

A period in which the Directors now face a lawsuit from other shareholders for a breach of fiduciary duty and in which all shareholders lost in just five days half the share price gain we have painstakingly won since the Spring.

How could I help to strengthen our relationship with our clients when in the perverse logic of our new "owners" loyal client relationships are not understood to be the Company's great asset?

How could I reassure you of your critical importance to the Company, when the views of so many of the most respected among you have been ruthlessly brushed aside?

This enforced parting grieves me deeply.

Yet I look forward to 1995 with great anticipation. Because, as we have always believed at Saatchi & Saatchi: Nothing is Impossible.

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