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Agency.com Begins Boston Dismantling, Promotes Scales

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NEW YORK Agency.com has offered relocation packages to about eight staffers at its 20-person Boston office, which is due to close by year's end, said i-shop chairman and CEO Chan Suh.

Earlier this week, Agency.com, which services clients like Hewlett-Packard, Visa and T-Mobile, confirmed plans to consolidate Northeast operations at its New York headquarters [IQ Daily Briefing, July 7].

"New York presents a very viable alternative. We have all the talents and expertise in New York to service clients," Suh told Adweek Wednesday.

Also, this week, Agency.com elevated executive vice president, chief operating officer Don Scales to president, a title formerly held by Suh. The promotion is in recognition of Scales' contributions over the past two-and-a-half years.

"During the tough couple of years we've had, he's shown that he can manage with difficulties and challenges," said Suh, to whom Scales reports. "Don and I are partners in running the business and he's now been given the official title that recognizes that."

Scales, who is based in Dallas, will continue to oversee all aspects of operations and business development for Agency.com's four domestic and two overseas offices and its i-traffic online advertising division.

Separately, Suh said he has received "no indication" that a deal with Omnicom Group is "getting derailed." Omnicom, which a year ago expressed interest in buying Agency.com, has been in talks with the i-shop's owner, Seneca.

While Omnicom purchased Organic, another Seneca holding, in a $106 million deal late last year, it has yet to pick up Agency.com. In 2001, Omnicom transferred its interactive agency investments, including a 35 percent stake in Agency.com and a 17 percent stake in Organic, to Seneca in exchange for preferred stock in the firm.

Having Omnicom as a parent would benefit Agency.com in that it would give the i-shop additional financial stability and the potential to share business with sibling agencies, Suh said. He also described a laissez-faire management style at Omnicom, saying, "As long as we're doing OK, they'll let us do more of it."