Uncertainty at Bozell Kamstra, Cipriani Kremer

Employees at Bozell Kamstra and Cipriani Kremer Design face uncertain futures in light of recent agency consolidations and the continued weak economy.

Only about half of the 30-35 staffers of Bozell Kamstra, Danvers, Mass., will make the move to Mullen later this summer as part of a far-reaching reorganization of The Interpublic Group of Cos., which owns both shops.

Mullen CEO Joe Grimaldi said 15 staffers will join the Wenham, Mass., shop in September. Dan McDougall, managing director of Bozell Kamstra, is joining Bozell operations in New York along with client Tyco International, which is moving from the Danvers office. Bozell has not said how many other Danvers employees, if any, will be offered positions in other Bozell offices.

Cipriani Kremer, an 18-person design shop owned by Boston-based Arnold, will cease operations by year’s end. Chairman Bob Cipriani and president Vic Cevoli will leave the Arnold fold at that time; neither retuned calls last week.

The move is “a strategic decision” intended chiefly to integrate Cipriani Kremer design functions into the parent agency, according to Arnold senior vice president Melissa Lea, who added that the agency will attempt to keep Cipriani Kremer’s other 16 employees.

Sources attributed the decision to Cipriani Kremer’s dwindling workload and inability to attract new accounts—and to Arnold’s desire to avoid looming conflicts with clients Citizens Bank and Fidelity Investments.

Arnold expects to add new billings from Citizens once the client’s proposed acquisition of the retail business of Mellon Bank is completed. Also, Arnold has been involved in a series of meetings and negotiations with project client Fidelity to position itself as successor to lead agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos once Fidelity’s contract with Hill, Holliday ends in September, sources said.

FleetBoston Financial, a design client of Cipriani Kremer’s but not an ad client of parent Arnold, poses a conflict with both Citizens and Fidelity that could no longer be ignored, especially if those accounts should expand, sources said. Arnold will have no ties to FleetBoston after Cipriani Kremer disbands, Lea said .

@DaveGian davegia@hotmail.com David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.