Frank Lowe Snags $80 Mil. Account, Seeks 3 More Partners

NEW YORK Tesco confirmed last week that it is shifting its U.K. account from IPG’s Lowe to a new, yet-unnamed London shop started by former Lowe chairman Frank Lowe. The business, estimated at $80 million in billings, will move in March. The new agency’s lineup, however, has yet to be completed, with offers still pending to DDB London’s Paul Hammersley and David Hackworthy and JWT London’s Mark Cadman, sources said. Those three may decide this week. Already on board are former Lowe chairman Paul Weinberger and the ex-Lowe creative team of senior copywriter Sam Cartmell and senior art director Jason Lawes.

As Press Conference Nears, Havas Shares Up By 6%

new york Havas shares rose more than 6 percent Friday to $4.71, in anticipation of a press conference scheduled by Havas chairman Vincent Bolloré to discuss plans for the Paris-based holding company. Sources said Bolloré will outline a corporate reorganization during the conference, set for 11 a.m. Tuesday in Paris. It will be Bolloré’s first press conference to discuss Havas since he took control of the company in June. It’s unclear whether Bolloré will discuss plans for Aegis, the U.K. parent of Carat, in which he has accrued ownership stake of more than 25 percent (he also owns 24 percent of Havas).

Grey and IPG Settle Lawsuit Concerning Steve Blamer

NEW YORK WPP’s Grey Global Group and IPG said they have settled a lawsuit Grey filed in September against IPG, its Foote Cone & Belding agency and that shop’s worldwide CEO, Steve Blamer, the company said. Grey and FCB issued a joint statement saying no money changed hands in the agreement, but that Blamer agreed to honor the terms of his contract with Grey, where he had been CEO, North America before joining FCB in June. The suit, filed in September in New York State Supreme Court, alleged that ex-Grey executive Steve Centrillo’s hiring at IPG and then FCB earlier this year was a violation of Blamer’s non-compete, which sources said expires in June 2006. Representatives for Grey and FCB declined further comment. Separately, Steve Centrillo’s former post as Interpublic’s chief growth officer, which he left in August, has been given to Margie Altschuler, who was promoted last week from the same position at IPG’s McCann Worldgroup, the company said.

McCann Gets Ready for $200 Mil. U.S. Army Duties

NEW YORK IPG’s McCann Erickson, along with McCann Worldgroup and other IPG agencies, expects to be further briefed in January on the $200 million U.S. Army account the group won last week, sources said. McCann takes over the account in March on a contract that runs for five years for a total of $1.35 billion in billings. McCann New York bested WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather New York, Omnicom’s BBDO Atlanta and the incumbent, Publicis’ Leo Burnett in Chicago.

4 Shops Remain in ExxonMobil Review; FCB, DDB Eliminated

NEW YORK ExxonMobil cut IPG’s Foote Cone & Belding and Omnicom’s DDB, a roster shop, from its $30-40 million corporate advertising review, sources said. The finalists, scheduled to pitch in January, are IPG’s McCann Erickson in New York, a roster shop, sibling TM Advertising in Irving, Texas, Havas’ Euro RSCG in New York and Publicis’ Leo Burnett in Chicago, sources said. The review is being handled by AAR Partners in New York, which declined to comment. Sources said the client has a policy of reviewing all of its contracts every three years, and that the contest was overdue.

News Roundup

Havas’ Euro RSCG, IPG’s McCann Erickson and Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi, all in New York, will make final pitches this week for Goodyear’s $40 million creative account, sources said. A decision is due by week’s end. … Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners’ first work on BMW North America’s Mini Cooper account, estimated at $25 million, is expected this spring. Butler beat New York’s Mother and StrawberryFrog after the shops presented ideas last week at the client’s Woodcliff Lake, N.J., headquarters.