Unable To Reach A Decision, Liberty Mutual Sets More Meetings

Liberty Mutual’s review of its estimated $27 million ad account entered a new phase last week when the selection committee could not decide between two contenders.
The Boston-based insurer had intended to make a final decision after four contenders completed their presentations. Instead, the client eliminated two shops and announced another round of presentations set for this week, said Liberty Mutual representative John Cusolito.
The remaining finalists are Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners and N.W. Ayer & Partners, both in New York. Dismissed from the review were Mullen in Wenham, Mass., and Lowe & Partners/SMS in New York.
“We did not anticipate this outcome,” Cusolito said. “We had two extremely strong finalists and we’re exploring how we can work with them over the next week.”
In a separate and expected move, Liberty Mutual last Wednesday said Gary Countryman would be replaced as chief executive officer by Ted Kelly, a handpicked successor who has worked closely with him.
Countryman, who was president and chief executive officer for 17 years, remains chairman of the board. Cusolito said the executive shift had no bearing on the review committee, of which both Countryman and Kelly are members.
Liberty Mutual started a review in January after dismissing 11-year incumbent Wells BDDP, New York. The shop that emerges victorious in the current review is expected to keep the tagline, “The freedom of liberty,” which Wells created.