Aegis Group has poached Doug Flynn, the managing director of News International, to fill its newly vacated chief executive position following the departure of Crispin Davis to be chief executive of Reed Elsevier.

Flynn has been a non-executive director of Aegis, the Carat holding company, since last May and had strong links with its UK agency, which is the incumbent on News International’s media account.

He joined News International in 1994 as deputy managing director of News International Newspapers and was appointed managing director of the
group last year. A spokeswoman for News International said that a replacement for Flynn will not be announced in the near future.

Aegis’s chairman, Frank Law, said: ’Doug has extensive experience in the media world, both internationally and in the UK. He has an impressive and consistent track record of building a variety of sizeable media businesses.

As a non-executive director of Aegis, he knows the company and the management team well.’

Law added that Flynn would spearhead Aegis’s expansion plans in the US and Latin America.

In the wake of Flynn’s appointment, Ray Kelly, chairman and chief executive of Carat Group UK, has been promoted to chief executive of Carat, northern Europe. Eryck Rabbouh and Bruno Kemoun, the joint chairmen of Carat France, have been made joint chief executives of Carat, southern Europe.

Davis’s appointment at Reed fills a gap left vacant since August last year. Reed Elsevier’s new chairman, Morris Tabaksbalt, took up the search for a chief executive in June.

Davis, who joined Aegis as chief executive in 1994 and starts at Reed Elsevier in September, faces a tough challenge in his new job.

He will have to rebuild the City’s confidence in the business publisher, following three profits warnings in the last seven months and persistent rumours that the company was considering merging with the Dutch publisher, Wolters Kluwer.

On Tuesday, Davis insisted that there were no plans for a merger.

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