IPG Revamp Evolves Yet Again

The massive make over of the Interpublic Group of Cos. unfolded last week largely as anticipated, with the holding company consolidating into four main operating divisions. In the West, the full implications have yet to be felt, though Dailey & Associates appears well-positioned to morph into a regional power.

The strange-bedfellows merger of traditional shop Dailey with autonomous, creatively driven IPG sister Suissa Miller never happened, despite initial conversations. Nevertheless, sources said the ultimate result of IPG’s restructuring in Los Angeles will be the formation of a Western operation for Lowe anchored by Dailey. Lowe, which recently shuttered its San Francisco office, currently has no presence on the West Coast.

In the recession-rattled Bay Area, sources said last week that IPG shops are considering vacating or combining their office space, among them FCB and GMO/Hill, Holliday. As the reorganization advances, sources said GMO could conceivably move into the space formerly occupied by Lowe Lintas and FCB could move into GMO’s space. FCB’s lease on its current office expires next month, sources said.

IPG officials would not answer specific questions about the moves, but said the company is considering all ways to boost efficiency.

Elsewhere, chief among the latest twists in the restructuring, sources said, is the absence of formal titles atop The Partnership, a collection of independent-minded advertising, public relations and marketing services companies that includes Dailey and Suissa. The Partnership’s 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.

Agency surprises included Campbell-Ewald, which was believed to be heading to McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, instead forging a “global strategic partnership” with FCB Group. On a smaller scale, True North’s Avrett Free Ginsberg, which some had envisioned in The Partnership, landed in WorldGroup.

Also intriguing, said sources, was the situation at Bozell. Two years after FCB absorbed the assets of several of its offices, Bozell again saw its empire shrink, with New York remaining as its last stronghold. Bozell Kamstra offices in Danvers, Mass., and Pittsburgh were folded into Mullen, and Bozell’s $140 million Chicago operation was absorbed by Campbell Mithun. Still in question is the fate of Bozell in Omaha, Neb., and Bozell Kamstra offices in Minneapolis and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Asked to explain the executive title changes, IPG CEO John Dooner said, “Like all plans, they evolve and change.” He declined to comment specifically about Lowe, but did say of Bell, “There’s no question David is in charge.”

He noted that in the spirit of a true partnership, “What we really wanted to do is break this perception of creating another hierarchy.”

Three of IPG’s operating divisions—WorldGroup, FCB Group and The Partnership—will be anchored by a global shop. The fourth, Ad vanced Marketing Services (formerly Allied Communications Group), consists of shops specializing in below-the-line services. Also under Advanced is Magna Global, a new media operation IPG plans to launch in September.

As expected, Initiative Media will pick up buying duties from Partnership shops and FCB, with planning chores remaining at the shops and at FCB Media Services. Universal McCann remains a separate, standalone media brand.