FCB, Chrysler Make Final Cut; 200 to PentaMark B02PAP29

FCB’s office here was “like a ghost town” last week after more than 200 people, including top creatives, moved, along with their work on Chrysler, to BBDO’s PentaMark Worldwide, sources said.

Among those joining PentaMark was Bill Morden, chief creative officer at FCB Detroit since last March. PentaMark earlier nabbed Mike Vogel, the head of the FCB office, to run the worldwide Chrysler operation.

The moves were expected after DaimlerChrysler moved its $2 billion business to BBDO’s new PentaMark Worldwide in November, leaving FCB without its cornerstone Motor City client.

Chrysler paid $13 million to FCB’s parent, True North Communications, to sever its contract with the agency on Jan. 1, four months before it was to expire. That amount covers what FCB would have made had the contract run its course. Chrylser has been pushing for an early bailout to hasten the transition to BBDO.

The payout will not cover the costs to FCB of losing and unloading the business, which will result in a fourth-quarter restructuring charge to TN of $17-20 million, according to TN.

PentaMark parent Omnicom has agreed to sublease a portion of the Southfield, Mich., office space that FCB currently occupies through Jan. 31, 2002, BBDO representative Kathy Tebbe said.

About 150 people are expected to be laid off at FCB, with the Detroit office eventually getting down to 30-40 employees. They may be moved into Don Coleman Advertising’s space in Southfield to work on the agency’s remaining accounts.

FCB parent True North Communications has a 49-percent stake in Don Coleman, which continues to handle DaimlerChrysler’s African-American marketing.

PentaMark is also taking over FCB field offices across the country, Tebbe said.