LONDON--Charles Watson, who stepped down from his role as FD global CEO earlier this year, is to become chairman of UK marcomms player Karmarama as part of a deal that sees 50 percent of the firm bought by private equity house Phoenix Equity Partners.
The investment includes ad agency Karmarama, along with its associate companies - production arm Kream and PR venture Kaper. The latter agency was formed as a joint venture last year between Karmarama and former MySpace UK and Shine executive Chris McCafferty.
In conjunction with Phoenix, the business will remain jointly owned by all of the three agencies’ partners including Karmarama’s four principals: Ben Bilboul (CEO), Nicola Mendelsohn (Karmarama executive chairman), Dave Buonaguidi (chief creative officer) and Sid McGrath (chief strategic officer).
The deal hopes to create an integrated, international agency that “combines the best creative, technology and data expertise.” Watson is joined at the agency by Adam Silver, who has been named corporate development director, with responsibility for overseeing acquisition and investment.
In late 2010, FD announced that Watson—after 10 years in the role, during which he led a management buyout and presided over the sale to FTI—will be stepping into the chairman’s role. During his tenure at FD, Watson was able to build an internationally significant agency via private equity investment.
“An outstanding growth record combined with a truly innovative and collaborative culture has already proved Karmarama to be one the most progressive and creative agencies in the UK,” said Watson in a statement. “This is the perfect starting point for building something quite exceptional in the industry and we look forward eagerly to engaging with other like-minded talent as we plan our next moves.”