IQ News: Manhattan Transfer: CKS Merges New York Units

In a move intended to provide complete marketing for the digital age, CKS Partners is consolidating two of its New York offices and has selected recently appointed CKS SiteSpecific chief operating officer Jon Adams to run the combined company.
“There is hardly a presentation we’ve made in the past three months where online [marketing] has not been an issue,” said Fergus O’Daly, president of Eastern operations. The plan to merge the operations of CKS New York and CKS SiteSpecific, he said, will better position CKS New York as a “truly integrated marketing agency.”
The New York office, which has been led by O’Daly since mid-1997, will continue to provide traditional agency services to clients, but will also emphasize marketing and consulting services, including online advertising. Adams, as general manager of CKS New York, will report to O’Daly. O’Daly said Adams’ packaged goods background (including a stint at General Foods) makes him well-suited for the role.
Adams joined CKS in October from True North Communications’ TN Technologies unit. Goldstein, founder of SiteSpecific, will continue as managing partner of CKS SiteSpecific Consulting, which will fall under the CKS New York umbrella.
The unit will now focus on advising clients on electronic commerce strategy. CKS New York will handle traditional agency services and build extensive Web sites. The combined unit’s client roster now includes Duracell, Lipton and Citibank.
Merging separate operations is an atypical move for CKS, which has acquired several shops over the past two years and allowed them to operate as standalone units. Mark Kvamme, chief executive of CKS Group, acknowledged that the approach is unusual but denied that consolidating the New York operations was motivated by the agency’s recent stock slide. CKS’s share price swooned 63 percent in November.
This restructuring comes on the heels of strategic changes that were implemented at CKS SiteSpecific during the summer. At that time, the shop was reorganized to handle all online promotions leaving banner buys and media negotiations to CKS Media.
CKS is considered to have a strong position in the West Coast advertising market but has been looking to boost its East Coast presence. SiteSpecific, acquired by CKS last June was part of that strategy.
O’Daly said he will continue to grow CKS’ operations in Washington and Atlanta, but establishing a “very strong hub in metro New York” ranks highest on the list of priorities.