IPG Moves Make Local Impact

The massive makeover of the Interpublic Group of Cos. unfolded largely as anticipated, with the company consolidating its holdings into four main operating divisions. But the saga’s denouement does include several intriguing twists, including the absorption of some Bozell Kamstra operations into Mullen.

Staff and clients from Bozell Kamstra, Danvers, Mass., are preparing to move into Mullen’s manor house offices. It is unclear how many employees and which clients will wind up at Wenham, Mass.-based Mullen, but at least three members of the Bozell Kamstra management team—general manager Tom Stone, creative director Bill Drake and group director Jeff Drake—are expected to join.

Managing director Dan Mc-Dougall, who co-founded the shop in 1970 as McDougall Associates and engineered its sale to Bozell three years ago, will move with client Tyco International to Bozell Kamstra’s New York office. Dan Reeves, also a creative director, likely will not stay with Bozell and is bypassing a move to Mullen.

Mullen also adds Bozell Kamstra’s Pittsburgh office. The shop has approximately $80-100 million in billings split between Danvers and Pittsburgh, sources said.

Chief among the surprises in the IPG reorganization is the absence of formal titles atop The Partnership, a collection of independent-minded advertising, public relations and marketing services companies. Its leader, David Bell, was not given the CEO title, a variation on the original plan and would-be chairman Frank Lowe was relegated to “a contributor” in a few lines toward the end of the press release. Mullen is a Partnership member.

IPG CEO John Dooner declined to comment specifically about Lowe, but did say of Bell, “There’s no question David is in charge.” While Lowe’s title of chairman was intended to be largely ceremonial, he is believed to feel slighted, according to sources. A Lowe Lintas representative declined to relay messages to Lowe seeking comment.

Other agency surprises included Campbell-Ewald, which was believed to be heading to McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, instead forging a “global strategic partnership” with FCB Group. Also intriguing, sources said, was the broader situation at Bozell. Two years after FCB absorbed the assets of several Bozell offices, the agency again saw its empire shrink, with New York remaining as its last stronghold. Apart from the Bozell Kamstra developments, Bozell’s $140 million Chicago operation was absorbed by Campbell-Mithun. The fate of Bozell in Omaha, Neb., and Bozell Kamstra offices in Minneapolis and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has not been determined.

Planning for the reorganization began late last year. It was months before IPG made a run for TN—a move that resulted in a $1.6 billion acquisition in June.

Three of the operating divisions—WorldGroup, FCB Group and The Partnership—will be anchored by a global shop. The fourth, Advanced Marketing Services (formerly Allied Communications Group), consists of shops specializing in below-the-line services, such as public relations and event marketing. Also under Advanced is Magna Global, a new media operation IPG plans to launch in September (see national news).

Larry Weber, CEO of Cambridge, Mass.-based Advanced Marketing Services, said that more than anything, the reorganization is designed to “make cross-selling much easier.” Shops in separate silos should be able offer clients a multiplicity of services, Weber added.