Bates Reorganizes Consumer, B-to-B Services

Bates Southwest chairman Jerry Kerr and new president Judi Martin have restructured agency operations to make it easier for clients to purchase an array of marketing services.

Cordiant Communications’ Hou-ston shop, renamed Bates Southwest Advertising & Public Relations, has reorganized to better integrate its consumer and business-to-business advertising, in-vestor and public relations, and interactive design disciplines.

Martin, former president of Bates Churchill Public Relations, was hired by Kerr in 1999. The 22-year communications veteran re-places Bill Holland, who resigned from Bates on Aug. 26 following what he called a “mutual decision.”

The agency is consolidating the five profit centers of its various disciplines into two: advertising and public relations.

Martin said the change enables the agency to provide a “whole communications strategy” to clients. “It was a little confusing before because we had distinct business units that made the client fit in a certain structure,” she said. Now clients can have all their needs serviced by one team, Martin said.

The realignment mirrors Cordiant’s own plan to combine four of its units to form one entity with a single profit-and-loss center. The holding company plans to join Bates Advertising, marketing services network 141, branding and design group Fitch, and specialist network Healthworld into one integrated offering.

Bates USA is down more than $400 million in billings in recent months with the losses of Hyundai Motor America’s factory and dealer businesses and the Wendy’s International account.

Bates Southwest’s 2001 billings and revenue were both off some 29 percent to roughly $85 million and $8 million, respectively.

The 75-person shop’s client roster includes St. Luke’s Hospital in Houston, CellStar Corp. of Carrollton, Texas, and Precision Drilling Corp of Calgary, Alberta.

Martin said personnel layoffs are not anticipated.