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Interpublic CFO to Step Down

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BOSTON Interpublic Group today said its chief financial officer, Robert Thompson, would leave the company.

IPG said in a statement that it has "reached [a] tentative agreement with an external candidate to serve as its new CFO," but did not identify that executive. The company said it would name the new CFO during the second half of July.

In the statement, IPG chief executive Michael Roth said, "Bob [Thompson] and I have independently come to the conclusion that the next steps in our company's progress will require new financial leadership. Bob came to me late last week to indicate his desire to leave."

Thompson rose to CFO in late 2004, promoted from svp of finance. He succeeded Chris Coughlin, who joined IPG in June 2003 but left at the close of 2004 to join Tyco International as CFO.

IPG, plagued by accounting woes, also said it intends to file its 2004 annual report, as well as its first- and second-quarter financial statements, by Sept. 30.

IPG said, "As we have previously disclosed we are the subject of an SEC enforcement investigation which remains unresolved. The scope of the investigation, including subpoenas requesting documents, has expanded to cover the potential restatement items identified in the April 5 form 8K." This involves the restatements from 1996-2001.

Deutsche Bank said in a report today that the SEC move "was expected" and that "overall, we think this statement is a negative for the stock but does not change our overall positive view on IPG."

Merrill Lynch, in its report today, said "the announcements today clearly did not make us feel more positive about the IPG story. We expect the shares to see some support from investors with a belief in IPG's turnaround potential."

—Adweek staff report