DraftFCB Promotes Boschetto to CEO

Howard Draft Remains Chairman; Harries to Vice Chairman

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Interpublic Group of Cos.' DraftFCB has elevated President Laurence Boschetto, 55, to the CEO role that was occupied by company namesake Howard Draft, the agency announced today.

Laurence Boschetto
Laurence Boschetto
Mr. Draft, 55, remains at the network as executive chairman. Worldwide Chief Creative Officer Jonathan Harries adds the title of vice chairman as part of the shift.

Mixed results
It's been more than two years since Draft and Foote Cone & Belding merged to create a new agency model combining the creative and direct-marketing capabilities of the legacy shops, and results have been mixed. The agency has posted growth, significantly expanded relationships with large clients such as Kraft Foods and Miller Coors, and won new accounts such as Kmart and the U.S. Census.

But the exceedingly public manner in which the agency won and lost Walmart shortly after the merger, the loss of the key Verizon account in 2007, and persistent questions about the state of the agency's creative offering remain issues, as do the shape of its New York office and a dearth of new business abroad.

"DraftFCB has shown solid performance in all facets of the business, including the launch of its new model in all major world markets," Michael Roth, Interpublic's Chairman-CEO, said in a statement. "Today's announcement is a natural evolution for the management team. It acknowledges their individual contributions to the agency's achievements to date and positions each of them to focus on specific areas that will be vital for DraftFCB going forward as they seek to take their offering and their results to a new level."

Heir apparent
Mr. Boschetto has long been viewed as the heir apparent to Mr. Draft, who called Mr. Boschetto "an exceptional leader, and there's no one I would rather have as a partner."

Mr. Boschetto said, "Howard and I have worked closely for over a decade, and these moves position us to continue our successful relationship. He is without a doubt a visionary who long ago foresaw the rise of marketing services and marketing accountability," Mr. Boschetto said.

Mr. Draft had this to say to Ad Age on the state of his agency just a few months ago: "Do I feel good? Yes, I feel good. Do I wish we were further along in a number of areas? Yeah. Have we gotten the culture right yet? I don't think so. Do I feel like we could have always done better and won more new business along the way? Absolutely. Do I still have a lot to learn? Absolutely. Will we feel great a few years from now and that we built the right culture and succeeded? Yeah, I hope so. Am I 100% we have all the people and disciplines correctly balanced on a global basis? Not yet. I personally don't think you are going to see this agency at the 100% level on a global basis for a couple of more years."