Createthe Group Founder James Gardner Dismissed

According to sources, he was escorted out of the digital agency’s West Houston Street building Wednesday afternoon, where it occupies three floors.

NEW YORK — Createthe Group’s cofounder and chief executive officer James Gardner was dismissed from the company Wednesday.

This story first appeared in the August 9, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

According to sources, on Wednesday afternoon Gardner was escorted out of the digital agency’s West Houston Street building, where it occupies three floors. Createthe Group has confirmed Gardner’s dismissal.

Jamey Hargreaves of the U.K.-based Hargreaves family, which in 2009 pumped $12 million of capital into the firm, will serve as acting ceo.

“The Hargreaves family are fully committed to further growth and expansion of Createthe Group,” Hargreaves told WWD.

Several factors contributed to Gardner’s departure, according to sources close to the firm, including Createthe Group’s failure to use funds to grow proprietary e-commerce software platform CTS. A consumer-facing social gaming initiative — The Game of Taste — was supposed to launch earlier this year but never quite got off the ground.

Gardner founded Createthe Group in 2004 with former partner Tony King as one of the first digital agencies specializing in the luxury and fashion categories. The firm has developed strategy, commerce and creative content for clients such as Burberry, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan, DKNY, David Yurman, Alexander Wang, Nowness, H&M, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, De Beers, Harry Winston and Kate Spade New York. King left Createthe Group in 2009 after spending almost six years as chief creative officer, and opened his namesake firm, King & Partners, in October 2010.

Following the change in upper management, Createthe Group is said to be moving into Morpheus Media’s Midtown space, the interactive marketing agency it acquired in June 2011 that was cofounded by its current chief media officer Shenan Reed.

Gardner could not be reached for comment.