Sony Mulls Final 2 for $500 Mil.-Plus Media Account

NEW YORK—Following presentations on Wednesday, Sony Corp. has narrowed to two finalists for its $500 million-plus U.S. media consolidation: Omnicom’s Arnell Group with PhD, both New York; and the Sony Pictures incumbent, Interpublic Group’s Universal McCann, New York and Los Angeles, sources said. Bcom3’s Starcom MediaVest Group did not advance. A decision is due before Christmas.

Fallon in N.Y., Duffy Cut Staff

NEW YORK—The New York office of Fallon laid off 10 employees last week—roughly 15 percent of its staff— agency president Alison Burns confirmed. Separately, Fallon design unit Duffy cut nine jobs between Minneapolis and New York. Burns said, “We remain committed to growing the office as reflected in our new-business additions this year: Timberland, National Oilheat Research Alliance, And1 and SilverSea.”

Pep Boys Splits With DDB

CHICAGO—Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack pulled its $45 million account from DDB in Chicago last week, sources said. Jeff Palmer, who took over as the Philadelphia-based auto-service chain’s svp of marketing and advertising in early November, declined to confirm the split. DDB won the business in May 1998, following a review. Palmer came to Pep Boys from Home Depot, whose agency is The Richards Group in Dallas.

JWT West CEO to Leave at Year’s End

LOS ANGELES—Peter Stranger has confirmed that he will step down from his post as chief executive officer of JWT West at the end of the year. Stranger’s responsibilities, which include overseeing JWT’s Los Angeles and San Francisco offices, will be divided. Jerry McGee, the former Ogilvy & Mather chairman who moved to JWT in August, will assume the new post of president of JWT Los Angeles. In San Francisco, the office will be run by managing partners Kevin Burke and Iwan Thomas.

Y&R’s Peter Murphy Dies

NEW YORK—Peter Murphy, a longtime creative group head at Young & Rubicam, here, and former executive creative director at what was then Hal Riney & Partners in San Francisco, died of cancer last week. He was 61. “I, for one, will miss his quick wit and his wonderful sense of humor,” said Jim Ferguson, Y&R’s chief creative officer. “His friendship. His leadership. His loyalty.” The funeral is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Hawthorne, N.Y., and a memorial mass is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Vincent Ferrer Church in Manhattan. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 20 Hampton Rd., Southampton, N.Y., 11968, and the Animal Rescue Fund, P.O. Box 901, Wainscott, N.Y., 11975.

Account Activity

DraftWorldwide in New York has withdrawn from Bank of America’s review of its estimated $20-25 million business-to-business account, leaving three finalists: Doremus, Masius and TBWA\Chiat\Day, all in New York, sources said. Final pitches are scheduled for today and tomorrow.