Digitas Shakes Up Management to Curb E-Doldrums

With its stock price stuck in the single digits, Internet and direct marketing firm Digitas last week made a series of management changes it claims will help spur growth and global expansion.

Michael Goss, evp and CFO, has announced his resignation. Kathy Biro, a chief architect of Digitas’ rapid rise in the late 1990s, has resigned as a director and is turning over the president’s mantle to COO Michael Ward. Biro will remain vice chair, but her day-to-day role will be reduced as she devotes more time to industry commentary and teaching.

Goss is joining Bain Capital as CFO/managing director; he worked at Bain from 1986-89. Jeff Cote, a Digitas svp, will serve as interim CFO and is being considered for the permanent position. Goss joined Digitas a year ago from Playtex as the company began its IPO process.

The Boston firm also named Greg Johnson to the new post of evp/global client delivery, effective immediately, where he will help oversee all services, with responsibilities for global quality control. He will continue as chief creative officer for now and said there is “no hurry” to name a replacement, adding that he is currently working on a plan for the creative department’s future.

Sources said the moves are an effort to find the right managerial mix to help Digitas improve on its disappointing Wall Street per-formance. But Digitas officials said otherwise.

“I would gladly have stayed at Digitas if not for this … opportunity at Bain,” Goss said. Added Biro: “This is more an issue of having management depth and lots of people who want to do different sorts of things.”

“As the organization’s needs mature, and as we extend our reach to new clients and new geographies, Michael [Ward] and I will be working closely together to guide its growth,” said David Kenny, Digitas chairman and CEO, in a statement.

Despite new-business success and rising revenue, Digitas’ stock traded on the Nasdaq at $5-6 of late, down from a 52-week high of $40. It claimed 1999 revenue of $187 million.