Wim Ubachs and Ralph Wisbrun (chairmen of the VEA, the Association of Ad Agencies) met each other in court last Friday, we learned from Adformatie. The two founded UbachsWisbrun, one of the most successful independent Dutch ad agencies in history. The agency merged with JWT in 2007 to become UbachsWisbrun/JWT. JWT (formerly known as PPGH/JWT) was huge in the 80’s and 90’s, but lost its mojo in the 00’s. It thus needed the merger to buy fresh, creative blood and regain its dominant position – Amsterdam was regarded as a flagship city within the international JWT network. Though recently the agency finally found its way up again, by winning several big accounts, the first few years of the merger were unsuccessful. The agency shrank from 188 employees to 50. For Wim Ubachs it was tempting to leave the agency to pursue a career in music at that point. Since officially he was still partner, he only needed to make a proper settlement. Instead of a friendly deal he got fired on the spot. The official reason: he was not putting enough energy in the agency anymore and was too much preoccupied with his own sidelines. That is very said news. But maybe a good moment to change UbachsWisbrun/JWT into JWT Amsterdam.
Update (June 10th): The judge ruled that JWT didn’t have enough reason to fire Ubachs. Both parties now have to come to an agreement on the payment of Ubachs’ managment fee and the call-option on Ubachs’ shares (20%). If not, they have to go to court again.