McCann Courts Howell for Key Post in Europe

NEW YORK Interpublic Group’s McCann-Erickson is in negotiations to hire Rupert Howell to help run its European operations, sources said.

Howell was a founder of London agency HHCL & Partners who became co-chief executive of Chime Communications when HHCL was acquired by Chime. Howell resigned from Chime in 2002 as it merged with WPP Group’s Red Cell network in London.

Howell, 46, would report to David Warden, director of McCann’s European operations, and be groomed as an eventual successor to Warden, 54, sources said.

Neither Howell nor Warden could immediately be reached for comment.

Warden replaced Ben Langdon, 39, who was dismissed in June as McCann-Erickson’s regional director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Chris Hunton, who Langdon earlier this year tapped as CEO of McCann’s U.K. operations, has been running the London office.

Interpublic Group’s McCann has three other worldwide regional directors: Eric Keshin (North America), Jens Olesen (Latin America), and Max Gosling (Asia Pacific).

The changes for McCann in Europe come nearly a year after accounting irregularities there forced IPG to restate $181 million in earnings and resulted in the dismissal earlier this year of McCann WorldGroup CEO Jim Heekin. He was replaced by Dooner, who stepped down as chairman of IPG.

A McCann representative in New York declined comment.