FCB Consolidates U.S. Healthcare Operations

NEW YORK Interpublic Group’s Foote Cone & Belding is moving staff from the San Francisco unit of FCB HealthCare to the New York counterpart division, the agency said, as part of a consolidation of its U.S. operations. The move will be complete by year’s end.

Tom Domanico, chairman, CEO and worldwide creative director of FCB HealthCare, said in a statement, “The largest volume of business is no longer on the West Coast. This move makes possible certain efficiencies that will allow us to serve all of our domestic clients equally well or even better from our East Coast headquarters.”

The agency launched FCB HealthCare as Vicom Associates in 1977 in San Francisco and later an East Coast counterpart. As the recent pharmaceutical industry presence on the West Coast has waned, the agency said it is redeploying those resources to the East, where the industry is growing.

FCB HealthCare’s international network includes offices in Brussels, Germany, Great Britain, India, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Clients include Merck, Lilly, Endo Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, Yamanouchi and Johnson & Johnson.

FCB sibling Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos has also made changes in San Francisco as a response to that region’s continued soft market. The shop is shuttering all but its media operations there, sources said. Hill, Holliday has laid off 20 employees in San Francisco within the last few weeks and will eliminate another five positions by year-end, leaving only a 10-person media office, according to sources. Hill, Holliday officials did not return calls.

Hill, Holliday’s media move follows a string of client and employee defections and missed new-business opportunities this year. The agency lost the $20 million Veritas Software account, with the media portion going to Godfrey Q & Partners—a shop founded by former Hill, Holliday senior vice presidents Patrick Godfrey and Brian Quennell, as well as Red Roof Inn ($10-12 million) and Sybase ($4 million). Hill, Holliday was also edged out in reviews for the creative portion of 24 Hour Fitness’ estimated $20 million account (the shop handles media duties for 24 Hour), as well as the $20 million Pressplay (now Napster) account, Diamond of California ($5 million), Autodesk ($3 million) and Ghirardelli Chocolate Co. ($2 million).