New IPG Saps Bozell, Boosts CM

Campbell Mithun grew and Bozell shrank in the massive makeover of the Interpublic Group of Cos., which unfolded largely as anticipated with a few notable twists, according to sources familiar with the original plans.

Two years after FCB absorbed the assets of several Bozell offices, the agency again saw its empire scaled back again, with New York remaining as its last stronghold. Bozell Kamstra offices in Danvers, Mass., and Pittsburgh were folded into Mullen, and Bozell’s $140 million Chicago operation was absorbed by Campbell Mithun, which closed a Chicago office in the early 1990s. Campbell Mithun Chicago will continue to operate under Tom Hayden, who now reports to the Minneapolis shop’s CEO, Les Mouser.

“Their future was uncertain,” Mouser said of Bozell Chicago. “Now they can look forward to stability and experience. They ought to be one of the top agencies in Chicago.”

Still in question is the fate of Bozell in Omaha, Neb., and Bozell Kamstra offices in Minneapolis and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. One of Bozell Omaha’s top clients, Mutual of Omaha insurance, had earlier been moved to Chicago. Executives in Omaha said they had been assured the office would stay open in some form.

Campbell-Ewald in Detroit was placed in a “global strategic partnership” with the FCB Group. Sources suggested that was done to offer more worldwide capabilities to Campbell-Ewald’s chief client, Chevrolet. FCB has been looking to get back into auto work since losing Chrysler last year.

On a smaller scale, True North’s Avrett Free Ginsberg, which at one point fell in the Partnership, ultimately landed in WorldGroup.

Surprising some onlookers was the absence of formal titles atop The Partnership, a collection of independent-minded advertising, public relations and marketing services companies. Its leader, David Bell, was not given the CEO title, a variation on the original plan, and would-be chairman Frank Lowe was relegated to “a contributor.”

“Like all plans, they evolve and change,” said IPG CEO John Dooner He declined to comment specifically about Lowe, but did say of Bell, “There’s no question David is in charge.”

He noted that in the spirit of a true partnership, “What we really wanted to do is break this perception of creating another hierarchy.”

While Lowe’s title of chairman was intended to be largely ceremonial, he nevertheless is believed to feel slighted, telling associates it was an intentional snub, according to sources. A Lowe Lintas representative in London refused to relay messages to Lowe seeking comment.

Planning for the reorganization began late last year, as Dooner prepared to embark on his first major initiative as CEO.

Three of the operating divisions—WorldGroup, FCB Group and The Partnership—will be anchored by a global shop. The fourth, Advanced Marketing Services (formerly Allied Communications Group), consists of shops specializing in below-the-line services, such as public relations and event marketing. Also under Advanced is Magna Global, a new media operation IPG plans to launch in September (see national news).

As expected, Initiative Media will pick up buying duties from Partnership shops and FCB, with planning chores remaining at the shops and FCB Media Services. Universal McCann remains a separate, standalone media brand.