WPP Continues Breakdown of Enfatico

PR Team Absorbed By Cohn & Wolfe Group's Axicom

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- London-based holding company WPP is continuing to fold parts of its ill-fated venture Enfatico -- the agency built to service Dell that just a year ago was a standalone unit with 1,000 global staffers -- into its other agency brands.

WPP's Cohn & Wolfe Group division announced today that its PR agency Axicom would absorb Enfatico's U.S. and European public-relations team.

A Cohn & Wolfe spokesman said the merger allows Axicom to expand into the U.S. market. As part of the move, Kelly McGinnis, who served as chief communications officer for Enfatico, becomes president of Axicom U.S.

The merger of Enfatico's PR operations into Axicom follows the decision in April to move Enfatico under WPP's Y&R Brands unit. That meant Y&R taking on advertising responsibilities for Dell.

At that time, Enfatico's CEO Torrence Boone in a memo to Enfatico employees said: "This decision does not change who we are as an agency and will only strengthen our relationship with Dell and other clients."

Fast-forward a few months, and Mr. Boone -- who was hired away from Digitas to lead the Dell agency in May 2008 -- is no longer with the agency, according to executives familiar with the matter. Those executives say Enfatico has been rapidly downsized in the past month, and Mr. Boone is said to have resigned around the Christmas holidays.

Mr. Boone did not immediately return an e-mail requesting comment. His Facebook page still lists him as the chairman of Enfatico.

People familiar with the agency say the Enfatico leadership team has been completely dismantled and at this point there are few staffers left at the agency. "The IT people have moved back to Y&R," said one exec. "Finance folks are still there sorting things out but it won't be long before they are gone as well."

Enfatico, which at one time had a blog and other content on its website, in recent days stripped the site of virtually all its content, leaving just contact information.

An e-mail sent to Enfatico's PR representative bounced back, and one sent to a general email box was not returned.

Calls to representatives for WPP and Dell were not immediately returned.

When Dell chose WPP in December 2007 to handle its global marketing needs, it signed a three-year, multibillion-dollar contract. Assuming that agreement is still in force, Dell and WPP are bound until the end of this year, but thereafter the tech giant could be out hunting for a new marketing solution once again.

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