Draft Fcb

More inflated estimates might reflect the amount Blamer received upfront when he joined FCB and was paid “make-good money” for what he left on the table when he left his last job at Grey.

Either way, another large executive payout can’t be sitting well with Wall Street after Roth promised to bring down severance costs at IPG.

This merger also brings unique challenges: FCB creative chief Jonathan Harries assumes the top creative job at the new entity, and some wonder how the two very different cultures and creative disciplines will meld into something new. At least initially, attracting talent may be difficult. Nonetheless, last week Howard Draft put forth this mandate: “I’ve told the creative guys: ‘Go hire the best ones. It’s a top priority.'”

On the business side, Draft and his top executive, Laurence Boschetto, president/COO of Draft Inc., face new distractions. Draft works for Verizon and Nokia while FCB has Qwest and Motorola. At risk is a potential $45 million in total global revenue fallout from conflicts at FCB alone, involving Motorola and Qwest. Motorola responded to calls, declining comment, while Nokia representative Keith Nowach said, “At this point, there are no changes or decisions. We’re still looking at things.” FCB has Kraft business. Draft has Kellogg’s and Mars.

Resolving potential conflicts is one thing, keeping clients happy in the coming months as Draft FCB navigates an unprecedented industry transformation is quite another.

“This is a big roll of the dice by IPG,” said one source. “If it doesn’t get some quick traction,” the merger may fail. Any client “who is not 100 percent happy is going to find its faith shaken,” the source added.

Like Howard Draft, Boschetto has made his mark in developing U.S. business, nearly tripling the size of the New York office since he took the top job there in 2002.

While Draft’s worldwide profit margin is nearly 15 percent, which puts it near the top of the class at IPG, FCB’s global margin is nearly half that, at 8 percent. Developing international capabilities has proved a challenge for Draft; now he is faced with revamping FCB’s sub-par overseas offices.

In the hours following the announcement, sources described the mood inside FCB as variously “exultant,” “nervous” and “enthusiastic.”

None nearly as exultant and enthusiastic as Howard Draft, who distances this merger from previous IPG efforts. “This is not like taking a sick puppy and putting it in with Draft,” he contended. “Everything will be built around taking the best of what we have and the best of what they have to build a modern solution. I really believe we are building something revolutionary here.”

—with Aaron Baar