Meyer CEO, 21 Staffers Leave to Join Client
DALLAS–Meyer & Johnson co-founder and chief executive Mike Meyer and 21 of his 46 employees are leaving the Dallas shop to join the staff of core client Associates First Capital Corp. as the account is shifted in-house. Meyer will be a senior vice president in the client’s consumer marketing division. The shop’s remaining accounts will be restructured into an interactive boutique under co-founder and creative director Bill Johnson, who will become sole owner. Johnson will act as president of the newly dubbed M&J, whose clients include Sabre Interactive’s Travelocity, Galderma Pharmaceuticals and Exxon. The trimmed down M&J will have billings of $12 million. The agency reported $41.3 million in 1997 billings.

Thrifty Plans to Reduce Contenders in Review
DALLAS–Thrifty Car Rental, Tulsa, Okla., will make a cut this week to an unspecified number of shops for its $10 million account. Thrifty marketing vice president Tom DeNardin said three finalists will be chosen later to make presentations in August. Incumbent Ackerman McQueen, Oklahoma City, is not defending.

Rapp Collins in Blue Cross/Blue Shield Finals
ATLANTA–Four shops have made the final round for the $8-12 million Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida business, according to a consultant working with the Jacksonville, Fla.-based client. Finalists include incumbent Foote, Cone & Belding of Chicago, BBDO South in Atlanta (pitching with Rapp Collins Worldwide in Irving, Texas), Earle Palmer Brown of Bethesda, Md., and Grey Direct in New York. Presentations are in early August, and a decision is expected by the end of that month.

Texas Tourism Prebid Conference Attracts 8
DALLAS–Eight agencies attended a prebid meeting for the Texas Department of Economic Development’s $12 million state tourism account. Present last week were: incumbent GSD&M, Austin, Texas; The Richards Group, McCann-Erickson and DDB Needham, all Dallas; The Atkins Agency, The Parker & Wood Association and KJS Marketing Communications Solutions, all San Antonio; and BBDO, Houston. Bids are due July 15.

Focus Agency Resigns Qwest Account
DALLAS–The Focus Agency here has resigned the consumer advertising account of Qwest Communications in Denver. Focus chief executive officer Mark Miller said Qwest never materialized into the $50 million account he anticipated. Television commercials created by Focus were scrapped before airing earlier this year. Bright Sun Consulting in New York–also a Qwest roster shop–recently launched new TV ads. Qwest executive vice president of marketing Stephen Jacobsen said he will evaluate agency plans in the next 30-60 days. He declined to say if a review is planned. In June, Qwest acquired long-distance provider LCI International. LCI’s lead agency is Ron Foth Advertising of Columbus, Ohio.