Cordiant’s Bungey Moves Up Resignation

Cordiant Communications Group said Friday that Michael Bungey will step down as CEO at the end of the year, instead of at the end of the first quarter, as originally planned. He will cede the post to David Hearn, who became chairman and chief executive of CCG’s Bates Worldwide last March.

In September, Bungey announced his plans to resign at the end of Q1 2003.

At the same time, the British holding company overhauled its organizational structure, combining Bates Advertising with three other specialty units to form an entity with one bottom line, called Bates Group. CCG said the reorganization is nearly complete and as a result, Bungey will relinquish the top spot. He will continue as an executive director until March 31.

“I’m not surprised,” said one analyst. “Six months was a very long time for a hand-over. Bungey would have been a lame duck for half that time. That wouldn’t have been fair for either [Bungey or Hearn].”

A company representative said that Hearn will keep his Bates Worldwide title in addition to his CCG one, though sources have said that whoever accepts the vacant post of Bates North American CEO could eventually assume worldwide duties. The agency hopes to conclude negotiations with the top candidate for the domestic post by the end of the year, sources said.

CCG is also searching for a replacement for chairman Charlie Scott, who announced in September his plans to step down when a successor is named.