Wieden+Kennedy vet Neil Christie to depart after 17 years
Neil Christie, the longtime Wieden+Kennedy vet who spent the better part of his tenure as managing director of its London office, is departing the agency after 17 years. He had joined the agency in 2004 in that post, during which time the London shop created notable campaigns such as Honda’s “Power of Dreams,” Nike’s “Run London and Arla Cravendale’s “Cats With Thumbs.”
Christie, who currently serves as director of growth markets, will leave the agency in June and will go on to pursue an education in literature at King's College in London.
In 2011, Christie was made partner and then stepped up to global chief operating officer in 2017. Prior to joining Wieden, his roles included managing director at TBWA/London and a stint as account director at BBH.
"After many years in advertising and 17 years at W+K, I just felt like it was time for a change," Christie tells Ad Age. "I was thinking about life post-Covid and what I wanted to do. I love Wieden, I feel like my time here has been very successful, and I had no interest in working at another agency. I've always loved literature but never had the opportunity to study it. Now seems like a good time to swap studying Byron Sharp and Peter Field for studying Chaucer and Shakespeare."
“Neil Christie is the original Wieden+Kennedy optimist," said W+K President Colleen DeCourcy in a statement. "Seventeen years ago, when we needed help in the London market, he took us on and built a world-renowned agency. Neil was the smart one who made it possible for everyone else to walk in stupid every day, and our dependence on him has been deep and genuine. Thank you, Neil. You’ll be missed by us all.”
The announcement of Christie’s departure follows that of other key leaders based in London. In March, Campaign reported that 20-year W+K vet and Executive Creative Director Tony Davidson would be leaving this summer. Davidson, too, led notable campaigns such as Honda’s “Power of Dreams,” which included spots such as the Grand Prix-winning “Grrr,” “Cog” and “Impossible Dream.” Other notable work included Nike’s “Nothing beats a Londoner” and TK Maxx’s “Ridiculous possibilities.”
Campaign had also previously reported that Davidson’s partner, ECD Iain Tait, was to leave the agency in 2021. The celebrated creative had previously served at Wieden+Kennedy’s Portland office, Google and had co-founded digital agency Poke. While in Portland, he was one of the key creatives behind Old Spice’s award-winning “Responses” campaign.
The agency says it will not be replacing Christie. It is currently in the process of finding creative leadership for London, with Davidson and Tait helping in that transition.