McCann Worldgroup Hires New CFO

NEW YORK McCann Worldgroup said it has hired Gary Lee as its chief financial officer.

He replaces Ramesh Rajan, who joined McCann Worldgroup as CFO in 2003 from parent Interpublic Group. Rajan now returns to IPG as svp, financial operations.

Lee is currently CFO and chief operating officer of North American operations at WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather.

The holding company is scheduled to report second-quarter and year-to-date earnings on Aug. 9.

Lee, who joins Sept. 5, would become McCann Worldgroup’s fourth CFO in as many years. Art D’Angelo and Sal LaGreca preceded Rajan. LaGreca left the CFO post in the wake of an accounting imbalance across the network’s offices in Europe.

Like previous CFOs, Lee reports to IPG CFO Frank Mergenthaler and McCann Worldgroup CEO John Dooner.

“Ramesh put in place rigorous global financial programs and has assembled and led a best-in-class financial team, both of which have been key to our financial performance,” said Dooner, in a statement. “Going forward, given the complexity and the growth of Worldgroup’s operations, Gary’s unique blend of corporate and client-related experience at leading global agencies make him a great partner to me in continuing to keep Worldgroup’s momentum going.”

Added Mergenthaler, “Gary is one of the industry’s top financial talents. He also understands the requirements of public holding companies and marketing services firms. Ramesh not only knows our company and our business, he has extensive international experience. We’ve been clear that streamlining operations and driving margin improvement are important priorities for Interpublic.”

To fill Lee’s post at Ogilvy, the agency has promoted John Lanaway, CFO for its New York, Los Angeles and Chicago operations, an agency representative said. The North American CFO oversees Ogilvy, OgilvyOne and the Brand Integration Group, which all operate under a single profit and loss statement.

Sources said Lee’s talks with McCann Worldgroup were propelled by his former colleague Matt Ross, who in February 2005 left Ogilvy, where he was a senior executive on IBM, to become president of the company’s San Francisco office, running its global Microsoft business. Both clients spend about $1 billion annually on global marketing.

This story updates an item posted earlier today with IPG’s confirmation and other details.