NEW YORK For weeks, Frank Lowe had wooed Ed Morris to join Lowe's new London agency as a partner and creative chief. On Monday, however, Morris decided to remain executive creative director of the London office of Interpublic Group's Lowe, the IPG shop has confirmed.
Morris, 38, was retained through a generous counteroffer that included a substantial raise, shares of IPG stock and perhaps most importantly, his name on the door, said sources.
Lowe worldwide CEO Tony Wright did not discuss specifics of the counteroffer, but said, in a statement, "Ed is obviously a key part of our offering in London and an absolutely unique talent. The next generation of Lowe London will involve a small number of senior managers having a significant stake in the direction of the agency. This will also be reflected in our branding strategy for Lowe London and other key network offices."
Wright added, "The next generation of Lowe London will have the best creative product in London as its bedrock, a superbly talented management team and a cluster of blue-chip clients demanding and getting world-class work. We go forward to this new future with the total unrelenting support of IPG behind us."
Morris could not immediately be reached.
Paul Hammersley, one of Frank Lowe's partners at the new shop, said of Morris: "He's a very talented guy and I wish him the best of luck."
The ecd's decision to stay ends, for now, Frank Lowe's successful run at Lowe executives, including chairman Paul Weinberger and the senior creative team of Sam Cartmell and Jason Lawes. Each has resigned to become an equal partner in the new agency, along with two top DDB London executives: Hammersley and David Hackworthy. JWT London managing director Mark Cadman is still mulling an offer, said sources.
The shop, which has yet to reveal its name, will open with the $80 million Tesco account as its maiden client. Tesco said last month that it was shifting its account from Lowe to the new agency, effective March 1.
IPG, however, has filed a complaint with the American Arbitration Association that accuses Frank Lowe, the former chairman of Lowe, of using proprietary information to damage his ex-agency and employer. Last week, Lowe called the complaint "baseless" and demanded that IPG withdraw it and apologize. IPG, thus far, has declined to respond.
This story updates an item posted earlier today with confirmation that Morris is staying at Lowe.