With 3 Top Execs Gone, Euro Defends Intel

Last May, with a hand-picked team of new leaders in place, Euro RSCG New York CEO Ron Berger declared the agency ready to “lay the groundwork for the next generation.”

But that groundwork is shifting under his feet. Three of those new leaders have left in the past five months: Berger’s No. 2, the executive creative director and the agency’s strategy chief. And now the Havas shop is beginning what figures to be a grueling, months-long struggle to defend Intel, a key client since 1996 and one of Euro’s five largest global accounts.

The challenge comes on the heels of the departures of Euro New York president John Berg in May, ecd Kevin Roddy to Bartle Bogle Hegarty in August and evp, chief strategy officer Marian Salzman at the end of this month. Berger was unavailable for comment.

Euro has picked up nearly $280 million in new drug business in the last three months, but losing the $300 million-plus Intel billings would be a dramatic blow. The account represents more than $30 million in revenue, or about 5 percent of the network’s global revenue, sources said.

Intel did not wait for next month’s arrival of new CMO Eric Kim from Samsung to put its business in review because “we want to reinvigorate the brand in a time when things are going swimmingly well,” said Don MacDonald, vp of worldwide branding and campaign strategy.

Although RFPs have yet to go out, sources said search firm SRI in Santa Monica, Calif. has already begun talking to potential suitors about what the review may entail. Among the possibilities, sources said, is making the review a holding-company competition (as Samsung is doing).

Kim’s past relationships with WPP shops (J. Walter Thompson with Red Cell is one of the finalist teams in Samsung) and WPP CEO Martin Sorrell are other variables that could affect the contender list.