Interpublic Group today merged global shop Lowe and Partners with domestic player Mullen to create Mullen Lowe Group.
The new operation, which IPG said would be a "creatively-driven global agency network," will be run by Mullen CEO Alex Leikikh. And as Leikikh becomes global CEO, Lowe CEO Michael Wall will exit.
By combining the two shops, IPG is looking to fuel growth at Lowe, a global agency whose largest account is Unilever. The tie-up is the latest in a series of mergers involving Lowe and sister shops such as Ammirati Puris Lintas, Bozell, Deutsch and Campbell-Ewald. The APL merger in 1999 was designed to expand Lowe's global footprint; the others sought to add ballast to its U.S. operation.
Combined, Mullen and Lowe employ about 6,400 staffers and generate an estimated $630 million in annual revenue, with Mullen supplying some 650 staffers and about $130 million in revenue, according to sources.
In a statement, IPG CEO Michael Roth said he hoped that the combination will "provide a gateway to global talent and service infrastructure for one of our most dynamic and contemporary U.S. agencies," adding that marketers will benefit from a "combination of talent and creativity, as well as the fact the agencies have highly complementary cultures."
Leikikh echoed that sentiment.
"We spent the majority of our time over the last three months making sure both agencies would fit together culturally," Leikikh told Adweek. "If you look at how well the Lowe agencies have done in key markets, they are consistently punching above their weight. At [Mullen] our creative has done exceptionally well in the U.S., and combining the two you get an amazing global network."
Roth described the CEO selection as a testament to Leikikh's leadership and potential impact.
"We see this as an excellent opportunity to engage Alex on a global stage and bring his strong leadership and proven track record as a builder of teams and business to one of the industry's outstanding creative networks," said Roth.
Mullen's U.S. offices—Boston, Los Angeles and Winston-Salem—will be rebranded as Mullen Lowe Group. New York City-based digital agency Lowe Profero and Mullen's Mediahub in Boston, will now report to the Mullen Lowe Group, which will open a New York office.
As for the U.K.-based offices, Mullen Lowe Group will supervise DLKW Lowe, along with Lowe Profero and Lowe Open in London.
Campbell Ewald, with its Detroit, San Antonio, New York and Los Angeles offices, will operate independently within the Mullen Lowe Group.
There is no logo yet for the newly merged shops. During the course of 2015 and 2016, IPG will retire the separate Mullen and Lowe names in favor of Mullen Lowe Group.