Sweeping reorganization could be on tap as AC&R charts future

This week may explain a great deal about the future direction of AC&R Advertising/N.Y.
Pending the approval of parent Saatchi & Saatchi Co. PLC, sources said AC&R management will make an announcement this week concerning a sweeping reorganization of the $185-million agency.
In recent years, AC&R has experienced two failed buybacks, reshuffled its top executives, was shifted to report to London through sister Saatchi agency Backer Spielvogel Bates and lost some longtime accounts such as Seiko’s Pulsar watches. Seiko’s $8-million account, now at AC&R, is also in review.
While AC&R was mum on the nature and scope of the impending announcement, the air around the agency is ripe with speculation about a sale or a buyback, and many options in between. Sources said it could deal with succession at the agency or outline a reorganization of the creative department. There has been a vacancy in the creative department since the departure of former McCann-Erickson creative Paul Cappelli in January.
Sources speculated that AC&R chairman Alvin Chereskin may tap Harry Koenig–the current chief operating officer–as the designated heir apparent; however, they added that Chereskin will likely stay on board for another two years at least to anchor the critical $65’million Estee Lauder business and find his creative successor.
Meanwhile, sources said the parent firm is pressuring AC&R to relocate to dormant space at BSB.
With AC&R already defending Seiko, another agency has a foot in the door on one of its bedrock accounts: Foot Locker. Amy Schecter, vp/retail marketing for Foot Locker parent Kinney Shoe Corp., confirmed last week that Boston’s Arnold Fortuna Lawner & Cabot won a creative pitch versus AC&R for a corporate image campaign for Lady Foot Locker, which breaks in September. She added that Foot Locker’s other business at AC&R was secure.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)