True North Cries Foul

As Omnicom was laying plans to take on additional DaimlerChrysler business to its new PentaMark unit last week, True North was griping about the process.

“The client said the review was an even playing field,” said TN chairman David Bell in a statement. “But we un-derstand from comments made in the press since the review that all along the other team was playing with our guys in their key positions.”

Several executives expressed confusion over Bell’s comment, saying that all along Chrysler, which made it clear that the review was meant to save costs, had hoped the winner would retain key players from the other side. In fact, when announcing the consolidation, Arthur “Bud” Liebler of Chrysler said he expected top FCB executives to move to PentaMark. Shortly following the announcement that BBDO had won the consolidated $2 billion account, it was reported that Mike Vogel, chief executive of FCB’s Detroit operation, would join PentaMark’s as chairman and CEO.

Omnicom’s John Wren responded to TN charges on Friday saying: “There were no meetings between anyone of any authority at Omnicom or BBDO with Vogel or anyone else until after Chrysler’s conference call,” when the winner was announced.

“We’d like to achieve a quick and equitable transition of the Chrysler business,” Bell added. “However, there’s no transition plan in place that takes into consideration our employees’ contractual agreements with and responsibilities to FCB.”

Earlier in the week, rumors circulated that TN is considering legal action if Vogel were found to be in direct violation of his contract.