July 2023

Moray MacLennan, CEO of M&C Saatchi, Announces Retirement

After nearly 30 years at M&C Saatchi and 40 years of Saatchi, Moray MacLennan has announced his intention to retire from his role as Chief Executive Officer of M&C Saatchi PLC.

Moray joined Saatchi & Saatchi as a trainee in 1983, rising through the ranks to become Managing Director before leaving, with Maurice and Charles Saatchi, to become UK CEO of the newly formed M&C Saatchi in 1995. After roles as Europe CEO and Worldwide CEO, he was appointed CEO of M&C Saatchi PLC in January 2020. 

He has overseen M&C Saatchi’s growth from a single advertising agency above an estate agent, to a multi-national communications group with operations spanning 23 countries. Operating across five connected specialisms, 75% of the group’s operating profit and over half of its revenue now comes from operations outside of advertising. Moray has spearheaded the group’s ambition to be the world’s leading creative solutions company, of specialist expertise, connected through data and tech, to deliver meaningful change. 

He has led the company through a challenging period in recent years, returning it to record growth. The group reported its highest ever net revenue, Headline operating profit, Headline profit before tax, and Headline earnings in 2022. 

Moray will retire from his role as of 30 September 2023. Zillah Byng-Thorne, currently Non-Executive Chair, will act as Executive Chair of the Company from 1 September 2023, until a new Chief Executive Officer joins. Zillah has a wealth of experience across media and technology businesses, including having most recently been Chief Executive Officer of Future plc. The breadth of her experience across executive and non-executive roles, combined with transformation and digital expertise, mean she is well placed to work with the wider board and steward M&C Saatchi’s next phase. 

The Board will initiate a comprehensive formal executive search process to identify a new Chief Executive Officer and will update the market as and when appropriate. 

Moray MacLennan, Chief Executive Officer, said: 

“As I approach 40 Years of Saatchi in many ways it feels like precisely the wrong time to move on, but I have decided it is precisely the right time. 

M&C Saatchi has delivered an impressive turnaround, come through its existential moment, and is well set for the future – now is the right time to make way for new energy and new ideas. 

It has been a privilege to work for so many years doing something I enjoy, with people I like, at this extraordinary company. 

Thanks to all clients and colleagues, past and present.” 

Zillah Byng-Thorne, Chair, said: 

"On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Moray for his contribution to M&C Saatchi, from the founding of the Company in 1995 through to his current role as Chief Executive Officer. 

His leadership has seen the Company not just stabilise but deliver record profits and establish strong foundations for future growth."