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IPG Eyes Grey's Blamer for Top Post at FCB

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NEW YORK Interpublic Group's Foote, Cone & Belding has been in talks with Steve Blamer about his taking a senior executive position at the shop, sources said.

Blamer, 47, has been president of the New York office of Grey Worldwide for just over three years. Grey representative Jan Sneed said, "Steve Blamer isn't even accessible to be able to comment." She declined further comment.

Sources said IPG and FCB executives have been in talks with Blamer to possibly fill the New York CEO post or North American chief executive slot, both of which are currently vacant.

FCB New York's CEO had been Jeff Tarakajian, who also carried the title of president. In the spring, Tarakajian relinquished the CEO title to concentrate on new business; he remains president of the New York office.

Sources said Blamer is being considered for the more senior position, the duties of which are currently handled by FCB North America COO Gene Bartley, who has been conducting the search.

Bartley could not be reached for comment. FCB representative Bill Haney would not comment on the search or candidates.

"We're not going to say who we might be talking with and who we're not talking with," Haney said. "There's no reason we should do that."

Sources said that if Blamer accepts either position, he would be in line to eventually succeed FCB Worldwide CEO Brendan Ryan, who also was unavailable for comment.

Sources said FCB wants a new executive on board by mid-September.

Blamer joined Grey New York in 2000 from Grey London, which he ran for two years. In 2002, he helped boost the billings and revenue of the flagship office by 21 percent to $2.8 billion and $425 million, respectively, with new business from Novartis, Frontier Airlines, BellSouth and Smucker's and existing client Procter & Gamble.