Initiative lures Alec Gerster away from MediaCom after 30 years at the Grey agency.
Layoffs Strike Again
Several Agencies Cut Staff
So much for talk of a recovery. For a handful of agencies, the anticipated spending rebound didn't come soon enough. With no sign of clients loosening their purse strings, shops including Saatchi, Cliff Freeman and Tribal DDB laid off staffers last week.
Ready To Fight
The Rev. Al Sharpton is calling into question agency compensation of minority subcontractors on government accounts. The one example cited is Leo Burnett's relationship with its minority shops on the U.S. Army account. A class-action lawsuit is under consideration.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has $80-100 million to spend on anti-tobacco advertising over the next 10 years, and it has invited 11 agencies nationwide to pitch the business. Funding is from tobacco firms' $6.6 billion settlement with the insurer and the state.
In And Out
Who's in: Peter Nicholson. The group CD at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners will fill the long-vacant creative-chief post at Publicis in Mid America. Who's out: Citron Haligman Bedecarr co-founders Kirk Citron and Matt Haligman, a year after the shop was merged with AKQA.
WPP Group, preparing a court battle over whether chief talent officer Brian Brooks can join IPG, has hired a replacement personnel chief. McKinsey & Co.'s Beth Axelrod starts in May.
IQ report cards
Which interactive agencies are making the grade, and which need to do more homework? IQ hands out its second annual Report Cards, rating 10 of the top shops on 2001 performance. Shops are graded on creative, use of technology, and financial and management performance. IQ also asked five interactive-ad pros to critique examples of current Web advertising.