Caffrey Shifts Her Focus to Mergers, Acquisitions Here and Abroad
NEW YORK–In a move aimed at bolstering its acquisition efforts both in the U.S. and overseas, Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide has named Ed Harrigan chief financial officer, freeing up former CFO Laura Caffrey to focus on mergers and acquisitions.
Caffrey becomes the only FCB executive dedicated to mergers and acquisitions, acting as primary negotiator as well as point person between buyout candidates, the agency’s regional executives and FCB parent True North Communications. She retains her executive vice president title and remains on the FCB board.
“In the past [the goal] was more to expand. Now it is more to strengthen,” said Brendan Ryan, FCB Worldwide chairman and chief executive, of the agency’s expansion plans. The network is looking to build its international presence, “with an emphasis on Europe,” to bulk up in regions where FCB shops already exist.
Caffrey is currently negotiating two acquisitions, one of which is in Europe and expected to close this year. Ryan would not elaborate on the size of the deal, nor would he indicate the target agency’s particular specialty. FCB has had its eye on agencies with direct marketing and interactive capabilities, said Ryan, and acquisitions will “depend on the needs” of individual markets.
With an extensive background at other global companies, Harrigan is expected to look for efficiencies within the network’s operational structure. The new CFO will also help meld acquisitions into the network. “He’s uniquely skilled and experienced at putting in place excellent financial systems,” said Ryan.
Harrigan was previously a regional operating officer with the Chicago law firm Baker & McKenzie. Before that, he spent 12 years with Ogilvy & Mather, most recently as North American CFO. Caffrey joined FCB in 1992 as CFO for the New York office and was elevated to a worldwide title in 1996.
As finance chief, Caffrey helped the agency expand worldwide via acquisitions, including its January purchase of Giovanni Comunicacoes, the eighth-largest agency in Brazil.
FCB marks its 125 anniversary this year with 166 offices in 73 countries and 1997 billings of $5.6 billion, according to the agency. Clients include: AT&T, S.C. Johnson, Coors Brewing Company, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Kraft Foods, Merck and Nabisco.
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