TM Chairman Steps Aside

DALLAS TM Advertising chairman and chief creative officer Jim Ferguson will step aside as head of the troubled Interpublic Group agency, the shop has confirmed.

President Tom Hansen will run the agency; TM has not determined if it will name a CCO. Currently, a tier of executive creative directors works under Ferguson.

Ferguson, 52, will remain at the agency in the newly created post of executive creative officer.

Ferguson hired Hansen, 49, as chief marketing officer in 2004, and promoted him to president when David Lyon left in November to join the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Hansen said the chairman’s title would not be used, and he indicated Ferguson would help out on pitches for both Irving, Texas-based TM and other shops in IPG’s McCann Worldgroup network.

Ferguson was in Italy today on a commercial shoot for client Nationwide Insurance, and unavailable for comment. Nationwide remains one of the agency’s largest accounts, along with American Airlines.

Despite his creative credentials, Ferguson failed to revive the agency’s sagging fortunes after his arrival in November 2003. In 2004, longtime client Subaru, the shop’s largest in terms of billings at $165 million, chose Omnicom Group’s DDB in a review. Texas Instruments left TM after 20 years in January 2005, and the agency is currently defending its ExxonMobil account in a review. The latter account is worth an estimated $30 million to $40 million in billings.

At the end of 2005, TM’s billings were $500 million, including Subaru’s.

Before Ferguson’s arrival, the agency lost JC Penney, among other accounts.

This story updates and corrects an item posted earlier today with TM’s confirmation, Hansen’s correct title and additional information about Ferguson’s future role.