Publicis Closes Office

With Leo Burnett about to become Publicis Groupe’s flagship operation in Chicago, the company decided to close its office here and concentrate its efforts in New York, executives said.

Paris-based Pub licis is expected to complete its $3 billion acquisition of Bcom3 Group later this month. Given that, Publicis CEO Maurice Lévy made the decision to shut down the 120-member Chi cago office, said Barry Krause, the Chi cago shop’s CEO.

“The merging of the two made sense because, individually, we didn’t have as big a platform in either market,” said Robert Bloom, chairman and chief executive of Publicis in the U.S.

The Chicago office of Publicis’ Optimedia will also close, with operations consolidated in New York.

Krause will relocate to New York and take over as CEO, replacing Doug McMahon, who is leaving the agency. Peter Nicholson, named top creative at Publicis in Chicago in April, will become the office’s chief creative officer, replacing ecd Lance Paull, who is also leaving.

Steve Price, COO of Publicis in Dallas, will take on the role of chairman and CEO of Publicis in Mid America.

About 20 of Chi cago’s senior managers are being offered jobs in New York. The consolidation will take effect Oct. 3.

The Chicago agency claims $200 million in billings, with clients such as Whirlpool and American Trans Air. Clients were told last week that the shop would move accounts to New York. That could be a problem with at least one client, Indianapolis-based ATA, which noted during its review last year that it wanted a Chicago-based agency. ATA executives could not be reached.