M&C Saatchi Chief Financial Officer Mickey Kalifa has submitted his resignation, the agency confirmed today.
Kalifa joined as CFO about three years ago as the company was mired in an accounting scandal that ultimately led to the restatement of financial results for 2018 and some figures for prior years as well. Kalifa is widely credited with helping to sort things out and with getting the agency’s turnaround plan in place.
The departure is ill-timed for the agency as it is confronting a hostile takeover battle with one of its largest shareholders and independent board director Vin Murria. She and her company AdvancedAdvT now own more than 22% of the agency’s shares which are traded on the London Exchange.
Last week, AdvancedAdvT made an offer that was rebuffed by a Saatchi board committee which asserted that the offer low-balled the value of the company. Shareholders seemed to agree—shares are down more than 6% over the last five trading days.
M&C Saatchi said Kalifa was resigning for “personal reasons,” which in this case means he wants out—he’s reportedly headed for an undisclosed role at digital agency Dept.
Saatchi said Kalifa would remain in place until full-year 2021 financials are finalized and to “ensure and orderly handover” to his successor. The search is underway now.
Saatchi CEO Moray MacLennan said, "I would like to thank Mickey for his commitment and resilience over the past three years when he has overseen a period of significant restructuring and the return to growth at the Company."