Pauline Hanton has announced her departure from Adshel after three highly successful years as the company's New Zealand sales director in exchange for a role helping to set up a new media company specialising in instore.
The announcement has come as a bit of a shock to both her colleagues and to many in the industry. Even Hanton, who was responsible for the Adshel’s media sales in the New Zealand market, seems surprised, both with the offer and the response to her resignation.
"It's been a bit full on. I didn't expect this reaction," she says.
She says she wasn't really looking to leave Adshel and that her time with the company was fantastic. But an opportunity was presented to her, and it was too good to pass up.
She wouldn't comment on specifics at this stage, or confirm who the offer came from. But she says the excitement of getting involved with a new company is just something she's drawn to.
"I started Eyecorp in New Zealand, so clearly I lean towards start-ups," she says.
Hanton only resigned a few days ago, but there are already a few rumours floating around, the most interesting one being that she will be heading up an operation that has designs on nabbing some action in the FMCG-marketing space. Exactly what that space is pure speculation of the most dangerous kind. Earlier reports on Stoppress about Hanton's new bizzo led to a flurry of calls from distressed ad agencies, PR professionals and the FBI* alleging factual errors, plagiarism, racism, agism and all sorts of nasty literary offensiveness. So watch this space; we'll update her moves as soon as the true facts emerge.
Steve McCarthy, chief executive of Adshel, was in Auckland yesterday and says Hanton has played a major role in the growth of Adshel since she joined in 2007, with Adshel New Zealand achieving record performance as a result of her "outstanding relationships with agencies and clients and the passion with which she developed her team and Adshel’s services”. The whole outdoor sector has suffered in the past few years and most of the big players just hunkered down and rode it out. But Adshel has been quite prominent and, perhaps as a result, the New Zealand arm well and truly out-performed its Australian Adshel counterparts.
Hanton has also been a major force behind the recent re-establishment of New Zealand’s Outdoor Media Association, OMANZ, of which she is the chair. She is still acting as chair, but will be stepping down from the role in due course when a suitable replacement is found.
Despite rumours to the contrary, she says she isn't being marched and will be leaving Adshel in October, which leaves plenty of time for a "big hooley" to send her off.
Adshel is currently searching for a replacement and will be reviewing both internal and external candidates.
* may not be actual FBI