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Questions Mar Raytheon Co.'s Agency Search

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Raytheon Co. has vowed to continue the review of its $15 million ad account despite the impending departure of a key client executive and issues of conflict that have surfaced at two of the three finalist agencies named last week.
Still in contention are former roster shop Keiler & Co., Farmington, Conn.; McCann-Erickson, Los Angeles; and Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich. Incumbent Ingalls Advertising in Boston is not participating.
A final decision is expected in mid-January, said Skip Pile, president of Pile and Co., a management consulting firm in Boston overseeing the process. Sources questioned, however, whether the search will proceed on schedule due to issues buzzing around both the client and the contenders.
Director of global corporate affairs and communications Barry French, a key client decision maker in the review process, is leaving at month's end and no successor has been named. His departure could cause Raytheon to postpone final presentations until the end of January, sources said.
Raytheon representative Toni Simonetti said that although French has shepherded the process, he is just one of a dozen decision makers and his loss will have no impact on the review process.
In addition, two of the contenders have potential conflicts. Keiler works for San Antonio, Texas-based jet maker Fairchild Dornier. McCann continues to work for McDonnell-Douglas, which was purchased last year by Boeing. Boeing is considering a global review of its estimated $30 million account, handled for the past 30 years by Cole & Weber, Seattle. The company may be considering McCann for some or all of its account, intensifying the conflict issue, sources said.
Skip Pile said all present potential conflicts "have been cleared" with all parties and are not considered an important factor at this stage. As for McCann potentially pitching Boeing, Pile said, "I suppose it would" have an impact on the Raytheon review, but he declined to elaborate.
--with Angela Dawso