IPG Suit Seeks $25 Mil. in Damages From Sloves

Interpublic Group of Cos. is seeking $25 million in damages from ex-Lowe & Partners/ SMS co-chairman Marvin Sloves, stemming from Lowe’s loss of the $125 million Mercedes-Benz account, per a recent filing with the American Arbitration Association.
The accusations include breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud.
IPG claims Sloves failed to advise it of the “alleged” concerns Mercedes executives had with the agency, or do anything to improve matters as the key client contact. Mercedes had cited creative and management problems in firing Lowe.
IPG also says Sloves helped the client “take its business away,” which Sloves has repeatedly denied.
IPG wants not only to depose Sloves, but also Alex Gellert, Lowe’s senior account manager on Mercedes. It claims Gellert told Lowe officials he met twice with Omnicom’s John Wren. In press reports, Wren denied ever meeting with or speaking to Sloves. IPG claims that denial “does not apply to one of Sloves’ principal aides.”
“It’s our policy not to comment on a dispute between our competitors and their employees,” said Wren. Gellert did not return calls.
The New York State Supreme Court denied IPG’s Feb. 11 application for a preliminary injunction restraining Sloves from soliciting its clients and staff. Speaking on Sloves’ behalf, attorney Moses Silverman said: “[The] application [is, in the court’s] word, ‘preposterous,’ because IPG and Lowe have no evidence of any wrongdoing by Mr. Sloves.”
“What the judge may have said was in the context of a preliminary injunction He was making no reference to the general merits of the case,” said Nicholas Camera, general counsel for IPG.
–with Michael McCarthy