Bates Sees Potential Below The Line, In Creative

Looking to strengthen operations, Bates Worldwide last week unveiled organizational shifts with emphasis on below-the-line revenue and named a worldwide creative director.
While signalling a commitment to independence for the near future, Michael Bungey, chief executive of Bates parent Cordiant Communications Group, said the moves would better position the shop in any acquisition scenario. “We’re not worried about a hostile takeover. Way into the future, if we ever sit down and talk with anybody about a deal, it’ll be from a position of strength.”
Bungey has consistently denied talking with third parties about the acquisition of Bates. “We intend to continue building upon our share price,” Bungey said. CCG shares have languished at about $10 after opening at $9 in December following the demerger of Bates and Saatchi & Saatchi.
Bates’ below-the-line units will be bundled into an entity called 141 Integrated Communications, with John Marchese as president. Marchese, 46, will continue to lead new business efforts at Bates USA.
Bungey and Bates North America chief executive Bill Whitehead hope to see the network’s below-the-line revenue increase from 10 percent of total to 50 percent within five years. North American billings at Bates are $2.1 billion.
Bungey also said he is interested in below-the-line acquisitions; Bates’ integrated capabilities were diminished in 1995 when a management buyout at Kobs & Draft separated the direct marketing firm from Cordiant. The shop became DraftDirect Worldwide.
Separately, Mark Morris, managing director of Bates USA, was promoted to chairman, Bates North America, with expanded client development duties. He reports to Whitehead.
The moves followed the appointment of John Fawcett, 48, chief of George Patterson Bates in Australia, as Bates’ first worldwide creative director since Bill Backer in 1993. Fawcett will relocate here on Aug. 1. “John’s addition will act as a catalyst for raising the bar here,” said Whitehead.