CAA and sports marketing industry mourn loss of ‘star’ Kenny
By Simon Ward
Tributes have been paid to Andy Kenny, the head of CAA Brand Consulting London, a sports marketing subsidiary of Creative Artists Agency, following his sudden death at the end of last year.
Kenny (pictured), who was 42, suffered a fatal heart attack in the week before Christmas.
A popular and widely respected sponsorship executive, Kenny had led CAA's UK-based sports and entertainment operation, formerly known as BrandRapport, since the start of 2016, serving clients including Allianz, Jaguar Land Rover, Nestlé, Prudential and Samsung.
He had a two-decade association with the company, in its various guises, and was regarded as one of the “real stars” of the sports marketing industry, according to a former colleague.
In July 2014, the senior management of BrandRapport, including Kenny, completed the buyout of the firm from previous owner Ingenious Media. The agency was subsequently acquired by CAA in December 2015, at which point Kenny assumed the title of head of the renamed operation.
Kenny and his 25-person team moved into CAA’s London office where they have been working with various leading brands to help identify, negotiate and maximise the value of sports sponsorship partnerships.
Greg Luckman, global head, CAA Brand Consulting, led the tributes in a statement to Sportcal that read: “We are heartbroken over the loss of our great friend and beloved colleague, Andy Kenny. He was a truly remarkable person – charming, smart, funny, caring, and passionate. Knowing him made our lives better.
“Our hearts are with Andy’s loving family during this very difficult time. He will be deeply missed, but will forever be a part of us.”
Kenny began his career at sports and entertainment agency Craigie Taylor International in 1998, and was subsequently vice-president, sport for its successor GEM Group from 2002 to 2005, working on Vodafone’s high-profile sponsorship deals with soccer giants Manchester United and the England cricket team.
BrandRapport was formed at the start of 2006 after a management buyout by eight directors at GEM Europe, and, following its acquisition by Ingenious Media in 2007, Kenny rose through the ranks, serving as deputy managing director and later managing director of the agency.
CAA Brand Consulting London helped broker last month’s deal in which Allianz, the Germany-based insurance giant, agreed to stay on as the main sponsor of top English rugby union club Saracens until 2021, and is set to work on commercial deals with Dele Alli, the Tottenham Hotspur and England soccer player who is a new CAA client.
Giles Morgan, until recently the global head of sponsorship and events at HSBC, worked with Kenny at Craigie Taylor and GEM between 1998 and 2004, and lamented his loss, saying: “I was immensely sad to hear the tragic news about Andy and my thoughts and condolences are with his wife Jo and their children.
“Andy was one of the true gentlemen of the sports marketing world. His devotion to his company was matched only by his loyalty to his team. He was one of the most accomplished client service directors in the industry and his example and standards inspired countless individuals starting out in sports marketing. He will be greatly missed and I shall never forget the adventures we were lucky to share around the world.”
Nigel Currie, a former director of BrandRapport, said: “Andy was one of the nicest people you could meet, but he was also hugely talented. He had wonderful charm and a style of working which enabled him to get on with people of all ages and also every level of executive within a company, however junior or senior – a truly unique ability.
“He started working for Craigie Taylor in the 1990s and quickly rose through the ranks. He was an absolutely key member of the agency’s account team working with Vodafone, particularly on the England cricket team and Manchester United sponsorships.
“He moved quickly up the company as it became GEM, then BrandRapport, then CAA Brand Consulting where he took over the running of the UK division two years ago. His time at the top has been tragically cut short and the sports marketing industry has lost one of its real stars.”
Kenny was also highly-regarded by athletes, with Mark Butcher, the ex-England cricketer and now Sky Sports television commentator, tweeting: “Sad to hear of the premature passing of Andy Kenny who looked after the England team’s Vodafone sponsorship in years past. Lovely guy, thoughts with his family & friends.”