New Management At Epsilon Leads Pitch For GTE

Review Coincides With Recent Sale of the Database Marketing Shop
BOSTON-A unit of GTE last week heard presentations from Epsilon in Burlington, Mass., and OgilvyOne in New York for a direct marketing assignment.
“We do have a review under way with our two primary direct response agencies,” said Brian Blevins, GTE’s manager of media relations. GTE Communications Corp., Irving, Texas, is the division conducting the review.
The two roster shops are vying for an initiative to sell local phone service to business customers in markets unregulated as a result of the Telecom Act, Blevins said. The budget has not been determined, and a decision is expected late this year, he added.
The pitch was the first by Epsilon since a portion of the database marketing company was sold by its parent company, American Express Travel Related Services, to a group of investors led by DMDA, a direct marketing agency in Carrolton, Texas.
That sale was finalized on Nov. 7, with Epsilon’s presentation for GTE scheduled just three days later. The review was the the shop’s first opportunity to present itself as a full-service direct marketing agency.
American Express continues to hold a minority interest of 20 percent in the new entity, which retains the Epsilon name and includes the operations and staff of both DMDA and Epsilon. GTE is the one client shared by DMDA and Epsilon.
DMDA president and chief executive officer Bob Mohr, who spearheaded the sale and holds the same title at Epsilon, said last week he first approached American Express in 1996 about buying Epsilon, which earned a reputation in executing fundraising campaigns for some of the country’s leading nonprofit organizations. The shop was sold to American Express TRS in 1990, dismissed as “no longer representing a strategic fit” with its parent company’s core businesses.
American Express remains not only a shareholder but also a client of Epsilon. A representative from each company that owns an interest in the concern as well as two outsiders to be named will comprise Epsilon’s management board, chaired by Mohr.