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JWT Rings Out Old

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Peter Schweitzer's star is rising at J. Walter Thompson. In an interview last week, JWT ceo Burt Manning said it was his intention eventually to promote Schweitzer, currently vice chairman/agency operations, to president of the J. Walter Thompson Co., a new post. As part of the shift, Schweitzer would move from Detroit to New York.
In another personnel shift, the departure last week of executive vp/planning and development Don Sullivan signals the promotion of Lew Trencher, the agency's chief financial officer to the title of chief financial and administrative officer.
Vice chairman/client operations Bill Thompson, meanwhile, was named to the agency compensation committee, which determines compensation for agency employees.
In that role, he will work closely with Schweitzer, Trencher and Manning.
More than any other major U.S. agency, J. Walter Thompson spent the last few weeks of 1992 ringing out the old and ringing in the new.
In addition to Sullivan's departure, the agency split with its client of two years, Northwest Airlines, over differences regarding compensation (ADWEEK, Dec. 21). In addition to losing Northwest Airlines, JWT lost U.S. media director Richard Kostyra, who decided to set up his own media service, taking on Northwest's billings as his first assignment.
The expected ascension of Schweitzer, currently one of two vice chairmen, to an even higher post would seem to indicate that he will be the next ceo of the company. Manning, however, said that such talk was premature.
'WPP has asked me and I've been happy to agree to remain the ceo of J. Walter Thompson Company,' Manning said last Wednesday. He said that he and the holding company had come to an agreement some time ago that he termed 'a pretty long-term deal.' He wouldn't divulge details.
As for talk that November's appointment of Chris Jones, 37, to executive vp/agency operations worldwide was a sign that he too was in line to become ceo, the 61-year-old Manning said, 'I have the highest regard for Chris Jones, but to say that at this stage of his career that he's the top contender for my job is ridiculous.'
Jones is scheduled to move to New York in mid-1993 as part of his expanded responsibilities.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)