Bender stated: "I feel ready for a new challenge and am pursuing new opportunities within the industry. I am looking at both sides of the fence – supplier and agency."
"This isn’t about leaving to launch a mini Grass Roots, it is about leaving for a totally fresh challenge and having the space to develop a number of ideas in the industry that I have enormous contact with and I am passionate about."
Bender added: "I feel the timing is right for both me and the agency. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and have overseen a number of changes with acquisitions and the rebrand. We had a tough year last year but the market is picking up and we are on track for 2011 so I am leaving a strong leadership team to drive the business forward."
David Evans, chairman and chief executive of the group, announced the move in a memo to all staff on 6 July 2011. Describing Bender as ‘my rock and leader in events’, he stated: "This raised the question of a replacement. The role he has played with great excellence was in many ways self-cast. So what better way than to place even more trust in the leaders of the key business units."
The new structure of the business will see Des McLaughlin head up Grass Roots HBI, Charles Moyle lead the Live business, and Giselle Ripkin and Amanda Litzow lead the Fleet and Marlow offices respectively.