Meyer Makes FCB Wait for Blamer

LOS ANGELES Interpublic Group’s Foote Cone & Belding is going to have to wait a little longer for Steve Blamer, its new worldwide CEO. Grey Global Group is not going to let North American president and CEO Blamer out of his contract early, sources said on Monday.

Grey chairman and CEO Ed Meyer issued an internal e-mail announcing that the network, in the process of being acquired by WPP Group, is holding the executive to his contract, which expires on June 15, sources said.

Blamer, who was named to succeed current FCB worldwide CEO Brendan Ryan last month [Adweek Online, Dec. 16] has already left the agency, but cannot start at FCB until his Grey contract is up, sources said. He will get full compensation during those six months from Grey.

The 48-year-old had planned to join FCB this month, with Ryan to stay on board through 2005 to help ease the transition. FCB had first courted Blamer unsuccessfully in August 2003. At that time, Meyer named Blamer, then the head of Grey’s New York office and widely regarded as heir apparent to Meyer, to run North America.

But when WPP made its deal with Grey, no clear successor to Meyer was named. Blamer has said that situation factored into his renewing discussions with IPG.

Agency executives either could not reached or declined comment.