Musical shares change Marketforce make up

A HIGH-LEVEL departure at Marketforce has prompted significant changes to the shareholders’ register of Perth’s biggest advertising agency.

But Marketforce has denied persistent rumours that an external interest has become a major shareholder in the business, insisting that existing staff have either increased their stakes or joined the register.

The changes occurred with the resignation of managing director Ian Tassell whose shares became available. Design One general manager Norm Wilson chose to sell his stake as well.

Chairman Howard Read also sold a small number of his shares at the same time.

Mr Read said the result was a near doubling of the number of shareholders in the company, but there would not be any change in control.

Current Marketforce shareholders including Carrick Robinson, Karen Della-Torre, Paul Nelson, Peter Rich and John Driscoll have all taken up extra shares and director of client services Paul Yole has come on board as a major shareholder.

“There’s been a shift in shareholding with Ian Tassell’s departure,” Marketforce group managing director John Driscoll said.

Mr Driscoll dismissed the possibility of anyone outside of WA buying the available shares.

“The Marketforce constitution states that at all times the major shareholders must be Western Australian and working in the company,” he said.

Marketforce has estimated billings of $105 million a year.

There have also been changes to the Marketforce board with Leigh Clapham, from 30 per cent shareholder George Patterson Bates, joining Howard Read, John Driscoll and Peter Nelson.

The addition of Mr Clapham to the Marketforce board should foster a closer relationship between the two advertising agencies.

“We are building a closer alliance with George Patterson Bates and their resources,” Mr Driscoll said.

Mr Clapham, the chief executive of TCG, a subsidiary of George Patterson Bates, was previously the national chairman of the Advertising Federation of Australia and head of Sydney advertising agency Ammirati Puris Lintas.

Funding for these new shareholders has been arranged through the Cordiant Group, which is the ultimate holding company of George Patterson Bates.

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