Lowe to Form New Group to Bolster Partnership Ties

Lowe is creating a new entity designed to build stronger ties between the agency and its partners in direct marketing, media, promotions and other marketing services, sources said.

The new U.S. group would encompass Lowe and sister shops within the Partnership division of Interpublic Group, including DraftWorldwide, Initiative Media and Zipatoni, said sources.

The group would seek to grow existing client relationships through cross-selling and would pursue new business as a team. And to run it, Lowe is eyeing Steve Harty, former president of Merkley Newman Harty & Partners, here, according to sources.

Harty is mulling an offer to function as president of the entity, which will have its own name, sources said. Although the shop has interviewed many candidates, Harty appears to be the front-runner. “Nothing’s signed yet,” said a source, who added that the two sides are “talking very seriously” about a deal.

Harty, however, is said to be weighing at least one other high-level opportunity in New York. When reached for comment, he acknowledged having “discussions” with Lowe, but added: “Nothing is finalized, and it’s far from that stage now.”

Lowe’s U.S. CEO, Paul Hammersley, likewise confirmed talks with Harty about running a new venture that would offer “better marketing solutions” to clients. Hammersley added that it involved “sister agencies within the Partnership.”

Lowe has tested the cross-discipline model in several European markets, including London, according to sources.

The new endeavor seems predicated on the notion that clients need more than traditional advertising services and would prefer to work with a single network. It also presents an opportunity for the network to add another seasoned executive.

Harty left Merkley last fall after a management shakeup, which resulted in the departure of both Harty and co-executive creative director Marty Orzio. Before Merkley, Harty held senior account posts at Ogilvy & Mather, here.