EDS in Fast-Track $50 Mil. Search

Electronic Data Systems has looked at four shops, including incumbent Bates Worldwide, for a global branding assignment that is expected to turn into an estimated $50 million account, sources said.
EDS only started talks with shops in early May. A decision could come in the next two weeks, sources said.
Bates, along with Fallon McElligott in Minneapolis; Grey Advertising in New York; and DDB in Dallas each made presentations to the Plano, Texas-based information systems consulting company, agency insiders said. The shops refused comment. EDS officials did not return calls.
Bates in New York has been EDS’ agency since 1995, but advertising to mainstream audiences has been negligible. EDS spent $4.2 million on media last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
The $17 billion company has undergone major organizational changes in the past six months, not the least of which is the addition of a new chairman and chief executive officer, Richard Brown, formerly CEO at Britain’s Cable & Wireless.
Brown, hired last December, has helmed a restructuring of EDS’ business that includes an alliance with MCI Worldcom for a new e-commerce business consulting unit.
The client has been rather circumspect on the scope of the assignment, sources said. EDS garners more than 40 percent of its new business overseas, per Hoover’s Online.
The company recently laid off 5,200 employees, roughly 4 percent of its work force, in a cost savings effort. Brown has pledged to shave $1 billion in costs this year.