Reckitt Benckiser Doles Out Pitch Assignments in $600 Mil. Review

NEW YORK The three roster shops competing in Reckitt Benckiser’s $600 million global creative review have each been asked to defend a brand they handle and pitch a rival’s brand, sources said. IPG’s McCann Erickson will present work on both its Clearasil business and Veet, which is at WPP’s JWT, said sources. JWT will defend Veet and pitch Clearasil, while Havas’ Euro RSCG will defend Air Wick and also pitch Clearasil, sources said. The London-based client is looking to reduce its roster to two shops. The agencies will present ideas on their assignments next month and again in May, according to sources. A decision is expected in June, after the client tests agency work. The shops, which were briefed two weeks ago, declined comment, and Reckitt could not be reached.

IPG’s Bell Retires, Shifts to Part-Time Consulting Role

NEW YORK IPG co-chairman David Bell, the former holding company CEO replaced last year by Michael Roth, retired from his post on Friday. Bell, who left IPG’s board of directors in November, will become a part-time consultant to the company for five years. He’ll also carry the title of chairman emeritus. Bell, 62, joined IPG in 2001 via the company’s $1.6 billion purchase of True North Communications, where he was CEO. In February 2003, Bell, then a vice chairman, replaced John Dooner in the top job at IPG. The change came after the holding company revealed that it had a $181.3 million accounting imbalance, which triggered a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation that has since expanded.

Red Brick Road Taps Broadcast, Media Chiefs From IPG, WPP

NEW YORK London startup The Red Brick Road has added Charles Crisp as head of broadcast and Tony Regan as communications planning director, the agency confirmed. Crisp, 45, came from the London office of IPG’s Lowe, where he performed the same function. He started last week. Regan, 43, was a founding partner at WPP’s Nylon in London and starts April 20. Red Brick Road opened its doors this month with the $80 million Tesco account, which shifted from Lowe, along with about 30 staffers who worked on the business. The shop’s founding partners include Frank Lowe, Paul Hammersley, David Hackworthy and Paul Weinberger.

Three Advance in $15-$20 Mil. BF Goodrich Pitch

NEW YORK Three finalists will be briefed this week in the review for BF Goodrich’s $15-$20 million creative and media account, the consultant confirmed. Raleigh, N.C., consultancy Hasan + Co. identified the shops as IPG’s The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., its sibling Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis, and independent The Richards Group of Dallas. Not advancing were Havas’ McKinney in Durham, N.C., its sibling Arnold in Boston, and Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day in San Francisco. The consultant said Omnicom’s BBDO in Atlanta withdrew last week, citing its current workload. Final presentations will take place at the client’s Greenville, S.C., headquarters in late April. A decision is expected soon thereafter.

Consob Asks Benatti to Suspend Public Offering for FullSix

NEW YORK Consob, the Italian stock market authority, requested on March 16 that former WPP Italy manager Marco Benatti, through his Blugroup Holding SpA, suspend the public offering for outstanding shares of FullSix, an Italian marketing firm. In January, Benatti, FullSix’s largest shareholder, made a bid for the company, in which WPP is a minority shareholder. Italian authorities acted after WPP argued Benatti and investment firm Mittel Generale Investimenti acted as a “concert party,” whereby two parties act to take control of a company without disclosing the partnership. A regional Italian administrative court will hear WPP’s claims on Wednesday. On March 14, WPP requested that a London High Court overturn a March 8th ruling that favored the holding company in its breach-of-contract suit against Benatti. WPP won by default because Benatti and his lawyers were not in court. Benatti questioned the validity of the timing of that court session. His lawyers asked Consob to investigate WPP for market manipulation, given the fact that Benatti was then still engaged in his takeover effort for FullSix.