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Arnold Shuts Down Design Unit

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BOSTON--Cipriani Kremer Design, an 18-person Arnold affiliate in Boston, will close by year's end. Chairman Bob Cipriani and president Vic Cevoli will leave the Arnold fold at that time, an Arnold representative said.

The move is "a strategic decision" intended chiefly to integrate Cipriani Kremer design functions into the parent agency, the representative added. Sources attributed the decision to the company's dwindling workload and inability to attract new accounts -- and to Arnold's desire to avoid looming conflicts with clients Citizens Bank and Fidelity Investments.

Arnold expects to add significant new billings from Citizens once the client's proposed acquisition of Mellon Bank is completed.

The agency has been involved all year in a series of meetings and negotiations with project client Fidelity in an effort to position itself as successor to lead agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos once Fidelity's contract with Hill, Holliday ends in September, sources said.

FleetBoston Financial, a design client of Cipriani Kremer's but not an advertising client of parent Arnold, poses a conflict with both Citizens and Fidelity that could no longer be ignored, especially if those accounts should expand, sources said.

Arnold will have no ties to FleetBoston after Cipriani Kremer disbands, the representative said. It is unclear if Sappi Fine Paper, also a Cipriani Kremer client, will stay with Arnold. Cipriani Kremer also handled various design projects for the American Legacy Foundation, Royal Caribbean and Volkswagen of America, all large ad clients of Arnold.

Cipriani and Cevoli did not return calls. The design shop joined the Arnold fold in 1991.

Arnold, a unit of Paris-based Havas Advertising, intends to "do whatever possible" to place Cipriani Kremer's other 16 staffers at other jobs, the representative added.