John Connors in the Scope of IPG




Hill, Holliday Parent Eyes 31-Year-Old to Lead Interactive Arm
BOSTON–John Connors III is being considered by the Interpublic Group of Cos. to run a business unit being assembled from its various Internet-related agency holdings.
A senior IPG official confirmed last week that the 32-year-old son of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos chairman and chief executive officer Jack Connors is one of two candidates under consideration to lead the new unit.
The younger Connors has been key to building Hill, Holliday Interactive from scratch since returning from a stint in the agency’s New York office about four years ago. Connors is at the top of most lists to eventually succeed his father at Hill, Holliday, although agency insiders said the hard-charging younger Connors is determined to first carve out a domain independent of the shop his father built.
The senior IPG official also said that what’s driving the plan to spin off its interactive holdings is not a desire to create a second publicly traded entity but “to build enough volume and resources to service clients in a meaningful way.” Exactly which holdings, however, is the question that continues to slow the progress of the plan [Adweek, May 24], sources said last week.
Among the holdings that would become part of IPG’s new unit include Hill, Holliday Interactive in Boston, where John Connors is managing director, McCann-Erickson WorldGroup’s Thunder House Online in New York and Zentropy in Los Angeles.
APL Digital in New York, the online unit of Ammirati Puris Lintas now under new management, is strongly resisting, sources said. Not included in the current scenario is Nicholson, a New York-based Internet agency in which IPG holds a minority stake.
The role of Icon Medialab International in Stockholm, Sweden, also remains questionable, although agency sources last week said Icon chief executive Franco Fedeli would be a candidate worthy of the top post.
The subject of which agencies will comprise the new unit is expected to be addressed this week in Madrid, Spain, where McCann-Erickson WorldGroup’s board of directors is holding its annual meeting.
Some IPG executives have been critical of a plan to spin off an Internet-related company, expressing doubt in its viability. One advisor was said to have told the holding company that it would create a “competitive disadvantage” operationally and strategically.
–with Adrienne Mand and Noreen O’Leary