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United's President to Step Down

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NEW YORK Amanda Walsh, president of WPP Group's United agency network (formerly Red Cell), has confirmed that she is stepping down from the position, effective May 31.

"I'm proud of what we've done in terms of the quality of the agencies in United," Walsh said. "It's a viable, strong network for WPP. Job done." She declined further comment.

Walsh was referring to last year's transformation of Red Cell from a 55-office group to a nine-office network run by worldwide CEO Andy Berlin.

Sources said Walsh's position became redundant after the reorganization because, as one executive put it, "You don't need two CEOs running nine offices."

Reached in London, where United is based, Berlin said, "Amanda was a very good partner . . . I don't know she thought that would be happening when she signed up, but that's what happened. There are fewer fires to put out. As for Amanda, job done and job well done."

Walsh, 47, joined Red Cell in May 2004 as chief executive of its European operations. She had been CEO of Walsh Trott Chick Smith in London, an agency she co-founded in 1995.

The relaunch of Red Cell last year was meant to position the "micro-network" as a global boutique (with a total of about 600 employees) that could compete against Bartle Bogle Hegarty (49 percent owned by Publicis Groupe), Publicis' Fallon and independent Wieden + Kennedy, sources said.

The agencies that comprise the group are Berlin Cameron United in New York; Cole & Weber in Seattle; WM in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Sra. Rushmore in Madrid, Spain; 1861 in Milan, Italy; United London; BTS in Oslo, Norway; LDV in Antwerp, Belgium; and LODP in Paris.

United agencies are on the roster in various markets of Procter & Gamble, Heineken, Coca-Cola, BSkyB, Le Bon Marche and Volkswagen.