Dooner, Bell to Leave IPG’s Board

NEW YORK McCann WorldGroup CEO John Dooner and Interpublic Group co-chairman David Bell will not stand for re-election to IPG’s board next month, as the No. 3 agency holding company moves further toward an outsider board.

News of their board exits emerged from a proxy statement that IPG filed with the Security and Exchange Commission on Friday. The proxy spells out the agenda for the company’s Nov. 14 annual meeting, including a resolution to promptly sell IPG to the highest bidder that a shareholder has proposed and IPG opposes.

IPG’s current 10-person board has seven outside directors and three insiders: IPG CEO Michael Roth, Dooner and Bell. So, when Dooner and Bell step down, there will be only one insider.

IPG is expected to fill at least one of the seats, most likely with another outsider, but not at next month’s meeting.

“In 2002, Interpublic moved toward a board made up primarily of outside directors. In keeping with best practices in corporate governance, we are now moving to a board made up solely of independent directors, other than the company’s chief executive officer,” an IPG representative said.

Dooner, 57, has been on the board since 1995, a 10-year period during which he was CEO of WorldGroup, CEO of IPG and then CEO of WorldGroup again.

Bell, 62, joined the board in June 2001, after IPG acquired True North Communications, of which he was CEO. He left the board in February 2002, when he was vice chairman of IPG.

At the time, IPG was shifting toward a predominately outsider board and three operating unit chiefs—then Lowe CEO Frank Lowe, Foote Cone & Belding Group CEO Brendan Ryan and then McCann WorldGroup CEO Jim Heekin—also stepped down.

Bell, however, rejoined the board in February 2003, when he replaced Dooner as chairman and CEO of IPG. This year Bell relinquished the CEO role to Roth, a board member since 2002.