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Top Y&R Exec Quits

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NEW YORK -- Linda Srere's resignation last week as president, chief client officer of Young & Rubicam comes amid speculation that more top changes are in store as new parent WPP Group prepares to assume unchallenged control.

Srere, 46, who was among top Y&R managers who were richly rewarded in the deal, is rethinking her future. "I've been working constantly since I was 15 years old," she says. "For me, the choice is either move up or do something else." The thought of a bigger job, more airplanes and less client interaction didn?t appeal to her, she says.

Srere, who joined Y&R in 1994, oversees the Mattel, MetLife, Sony and Kraft accounts. She will not be replaced. When she decides on her next career path in about six months, it will be more entrepreneurial, she says.

As part of WPP's acquisition of Y&R, completed October 4, 2000, the agency set up an integration committee that is composed of Y&R's chief executive Tom Bell, CFO Mike Dolan, WPP CEO Martin Sorrell and group finance director Paul Richardson. Since then, a majority of three votes has been needed to make significant change. The committee will be dissolved next month on the deal?s anniversary.

Y&R executives downplay rumors that more top management changes are imminent. In fact, Y&R Inc. has quietly been dismantling itself, in line with WPP's policy of having operating companies report directly to Sorrell. Many senior executives of Y&R Inc. have already left. "People think Martin's about to make more savings," says one insider. "He's already taken Y&R headquarter costs out."