M in meltdown as the founders join the exodus

JUST a few hours after The Capitalist disclosed that five key members of staff had quit the City’s top flight financial PR agency M:Communications came the revelation that suggests things are getting serious.

Founders Nick Miles and Hugh Morrison, both City veterans and big revenue earners, announced that they are also leaving the group, which is owned by King Worldwide.

Miles and Morrison were not commenting yesterday but industry gossips, who are never short of an opinion or two, were speculating that the two men might be planning to start up a new agency or possibly even buy out what remains of M from its American owners.

At the moment King Worldwide’s CEO Terry Thompson is, publicly at least, all sweetness and light: “We wish them well in their new endeavours,” he explained.

There seems to have been frustration at M about the distribution of profits at the agency, which, insiders say, has effectively been subsidising other parts of the group with its healthy earnings.

Those who have walked out of the door so far include Patrick d’Ancona and Stuart Leasor. The group has a number of large accounts including Credit Agricole, Unicredit, Ocado, Genel and LVMH.

■ Having missed the chance of a rigorous questioning at a recent City Hall budget meeting, Mayor Boris Johnson was addressing the really tough issues at this week’s Ask Boris online grilling session. After warming up with a few followers quizzing the Mayor about the budget and public transport policies he got down to the burning issue of what his favourite biscuit is (chocolate digestive, if you need to know). BoJo revealed that his exercise regime includes “a variety of kung fu moves that are transforming me into a chiselled whippet” for the RideLondon Bikeathon. Apparently he also once had dance lessons at the Ministry of Sound with Ulrika Jonsson. “She showed me a few things,” assured Boris.

■ The launch party for the TaxPayers’ Alliance new beer tax campaign, held appropriately at a pub in Westminster, kicked off last night. The Alliance are campaigning for the government to abolish the beer duty escalator, and have already gained political support from Burton MP Andrew Griffiths. However, two more glamourous commentators have weighed in on the debate via Twitter – tweeting to the @the_tpa account to “challenge your MP to stop yet another rise in taxes on drinks” yesterday were Page 3 models Lacey Banghard and Rosie Jones. As the pair quite rightly pointed out, you can write to your MP at http://mashbeertax.org