McCann, Reckitt to Part

NEW YORK McCann Erickson has split with Reckitt-Benckiser and is in the process of a 90-day transition period ending in August, sources said.

The Interpublic Group agency had been one of three global roster shops participating in a review initiated by the U.K.-based client in January to trim its agency stable from three to two.

The other two shops are WPP Group’s JWT and Havas’ Euro RSCG, which will now likely be assigned various brands on the estimated $300 million global business, sources said.

The move comes after objections in recent weeks by S.C. Johnson, a Reckitt competitor and client of McCann’s sibling agency Foote Cone & Belding.

Racine, Wis.-based S.C. Johnson raised the issue with IPG executives, and two weeks ago, IPG CEO Michael Roth told McCann to withdraw from the final presentation.

Last week, the agency showed up at Reckitt’s headquarters in Slough, England, on the day of the scheduled final presentations, but IPG insisted McCann’s presence there was part of its service of an existing client [Adweek, May 15].

McCann’s London office got on the Reckitt roster in October 2005 when the company acquired over-the-counter Boots Healthcare brands Clearasil, Strepsils and Nurofen.

For several years, McCann had handled most of the Reckitt account until 2001 when it resigned the business after IPG bought FCB, and S.C. Johnson would not co-exist within the same holding company as its archrival.

Reckitt executives could not be reached. A representative for McCann Erickson declined comment, referring calls to IPG, which also declined to comment.