Favoritism Alleged in Aussie Gov’t Media Biz

MELBOURNE – Some senior agency executives have cried ‘nepotism’ at the appointment of Leeds Media & Communications to the Victorian State Government master media account. The business, which may bill more than $17 million, was pitched by Leeds, George Patterson and Dentsu, Young & Rubicam Partnership affiliate Total Media, after the then newly elected State Government fired Mojo last December. Government communications are headed by former DDB Needham chairman Peter Bennett, who hired his former agency to buy broadcast media during the review. Leeds Media is headed by Bennett’s successor as chairman at DDB, Paul Leeds. Leeds left DDB in January – just after the announcement of the review – to set up his own media shop with ex-DDB deputy media director Anne Maree-Frost. DDB also owns an undisclosed share in the company. Sources said the government decided on the appointment two months ago, but did not announce it to give Leeds time to find premises and hire enough staff to handle the business.
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