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WPP Forms Mediaedge: CIA

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NEW YORK -- WPP Group has combined The Media Edge and Tempus Group's CIA Medianetwork into one company to be called Mediaedge: CIA.The new company, which will have combined billings of over $17 billion worldwide and $4.6 billion in the U.S., will be run by a combination of The Media Edge and CIA managers.Charles Courtier and Mainardo de Nardis, currently Global CEO's of The Media Edge and CIA respectively, will head-up the group together as executive chairman and CEO respectively. Beth Gordon, currently chairman of The Media Edge, will become Chairman of WPP's media parent company, which includes MindShare, to concentrate on developing new business opportunities between the companies in that group.It is unclear what role, if any, Chris Ingram, CIA's founder and chairman, will play in the new entity. Under the previously announced plan, Ingram was to serve as co-chairman with Gordon. Sources said that Ingram is still involved in the transition and is in talks with WPP CEO Martin Sorrell about his future with the company."Whether or not Chris will stay or go has not yet been decided," said one source close to the talks."Charles [Courtier] and I have taken the lead in integration projects and we've identified 35 integration areas and nominated a project leader in each area," de Nardis said. "Each project leader is working with a team of combined people from both companies. Currently, they are making recommendations on what should happen in a specific area, being in the market, or being a central service or specific skill. That's the next step."Mediaedge: CIA is currently trying to sort out any client conflicts, Courtier said."That's one of the issues that we've been dealing with since day one, we're trying to get a good understanding off it, we're talking to the clients about it, about solutions to those issues -- we obviously don't want to lose any business at all," Courtier said.CIA has 57 offices in 28 markets and is particularly strong in Europe, with smaller operations in the U.S., Africa and Asia Pacific. The Media Edge has 103 offices in 78 countries worldwide. WPP will now command a worldwide market share of 21 percent, according to French research firm RECMA, just behind leader IPG at 23 percent.