NEW YORK – After losing a quarter of its billings within a period of 17 days last month, Lintas has been ordered by Interpublic Group chairman Phil Geier to restructure the agency’s management. The changes will bring more of the younger talent with key connections to the shop’s remaining clients into more powerful roles in a dramatic effort to regroup and reverse its fading fortunes.
In a setting that serves as a metaphor for the shop’s woeful billings drop – an empty floor at the agency’s Dag Hammarskjold Plaza offices – Lintas:N.Y. ceo Tony Miller this morning will unveil a plan for the future, perhaps even carrying the title ‘Restructuring for the ’90s.’
One of the appointments will be the promotion of Kevin O’Neill to the chief creative officer’s role (ADWEEK, Nov. 1), a move that chairman/ceo Ken Robbins confirmed last week. However, Robins, the only one of the shop’s top executives who returned repeated phone calls last week, would not explicitly confirm some other anticipated changes. ‘Tony Miller wants to call for a regroup and it’s a new call to arms,’ he said.
Executive vp Sheri Colonel, considered a star account manager on Maybelline and Unilever, is expected to be promoted as part of Miller’s plan, possibly being elevated to the chief operating officer’s title or becoming head of the agency’s strategy review board. And in a somewhat ironic twist, group executive vp Steve Norcia, who has headed up the IBM and Diet Coke accounts, will now reportedly be spearheading the shop’s much-needed new business effort. Norcia could not be reached for comment concerning his new business role.
President/coo F. Stone Roberts, who has also been a key executive on the Diet Coke account, is expected to be redeployed within the agency as part of the plan, though his new job responsibilities remained under wraps at press time. One source said that Roberts’ title was not expected to change, significantly, although his job at Lintas and within the IPG family could change radically. Other speculation had him joining the IPG holding company or one of its other ad agencies. ‘Not that much is going to change with Stone,’ Robbins said. ‘Stone’s going to continue to be involved with clients.’
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)
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