LaGreca Out as McCann CFO

NEW YORK — Sal LaGreca, vice chairman and chief financial officer for McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, is leaving his position, the company confirmed.

McCann WorldGroup CEO Jim Heekin said LaGreca had informed him one month ago of plans to retire in the first quarter of 2003. “He’ll be very missed by McCann and by me in particular,” Heekin said.

LaGreca, 49, joined the company in late 1994 from parent Interpublic Group where he was a controller.

Heekin said a search was underway for LaGreca’s replacement both inside IPG and outside. He hoped to have a replacement by the end of this year, he said.

In August, IPG restated earnings downward by $68.5 million after rexamining the books at McCann-Erickson WorldGroup in Europe. Last week, the company said that new, additional charges would bring the restatement to $120 million. That news, together with together with the announcement of poor results from IPG’s Octagon sports marketing unit, sparked a sell-off of the holding company’s shares. IPG’s stock fell some 30 percent for the week, closing at $11.25 on Friday.

Heekin would not comment on the restatement of earnings in Europe nor whether LaGreca’s retirement was related to it.

On Wednesday, IPG shares closed at 13.21, up 88 cents.

LaGreca was in Miami for planning sessions for McCann-Erickson WorldGroup and could not immediately be reached for comment.