Maurice Saatchi and his brother stopped being advertising men when they came to this country with their financial gurus and, taking advantage of the vagaries of British accounting practices, the obscene multiples British investors would pay for the intangible assets of an advertising agency, a favorable exchange rate and good old-fashioned American greed, proceeded to create a financial empire built on empty promises.
They almost single-handedly transformed the advertising business in this country-and many people would argue not for the better. How many great agencies and how many great careers were destroyed or harmed by their unique form of financial voodoo? Compton, Dancer Fitzgerald, Esty, AC&R, Campbell-Mithun and Backer & Spielvogel, to name some of the most obvious. Most no longer exist or have become substantially different from what they once were, with collectively fewer clients, fewer employees and fewer profits. Who would argue they are now better advertising agencies than they once were?
As a former employee, I purchased S&S ADRs at $15, $12 and $8 a share and then proceeded to watch as the value of those shares plummeted to nearly nothing, even while the accounts I managed grew significantly...I say we should all be glad that we are rid of Maurice Saatchi.
Senior VP-group director