by Herman Manson (@marklives) Grey Group, a WPP agency network, has closed its Johannesburg agency. No reason was given for the decision and the network has so far failed to clarify what happened with staff or clients. It also would not respond to an allegation in Business Day that the CEO of the agency, Derek Shorkey, had already left the country by the time news of the closure became public. Shorkey is listed as being in London on his Linkedin profile, which still lists him as CEO of the South African operation.

Owen Dougherty, Chief Communications Officer at Grey Group, says the network will regroup in South Africa and either acquire or build a new greyintegrated agency, describing it as a key market.

“Grey is committed to Africa and has been increasing its footprint on the continent in recent years to meet rising demand from multinational and local clients,” reads a statement released by Grey Group. “Grey today is working across West and East Africa with a presence in 11 markets including Nigeria and Kenya.”

“Africa is a huge and compelling opportunity for us,” said David Patton, President and CEO of Grey Group Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Africa’s fast economic growth, political stability, burgeoning middle class and expanding talent base make it key to our business development strategy. We intend to create a new integrated agency hub in South Africa as swiftly as possible.”

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