Y&R Lures Bess With CEO Role

Takes a ‘Better Deal’ Than TN Could Offer
CHICAGO–The lure of the chairman and chief executive’s office–one he wasn’t likely to occupy anytime soon within True North Communications–is what drew Ron Bess to Young & Rubicam.
Bess leaves just a month after becoming one of three global presidents at FCB Worldwide, which was consolidated with Bozell’s global network by TN. His initial responsibilities were for Chicago, Southern California and Canada, although Bess said FCB chairman and chief executive Brendan Ryan offered him the chance to “do anything I wanted.”
But the path to higher office was, for the short term at least, effectively blocked, Bess said. “I just think [Y&R] is the better deal,” he said.
Several sources said Bess was left without effective authority at FCB. “It was kind of a nonposition,” said one.
Bess will head Y&R’s Diversified Communications Group, the below-the-line operation with about $500 million in annual revenues. The “cross-training” opportunity in his new role was another attraction, Bess said, as he has never directly headed that segment of an agency.
Another draw is “having the seat at the holding company table,” Bess said. Although he was on TN’s board of directors, “being part of the weekly operating committee as one of the CEOs is more compelling,” he said.