While Ms. Koerner claims the unit was making money, she told Advertising Age it was being shut down for "economic-based reasons." The New York-based staff of 10 was notified right before the holidays that their jobs were being eliminated.
The practice was created early in 2006 to examine how emerging media affects consumers' viewing habits. Ms. Koerner and a team of eight specialists were to create a "consumer-focused research capability" across Interpublic's media agencies Initiative and Universal McCann, as well as to develop proprietary research in the sectors where Interpublic's media clients do business.
Given Interpublic's October realignment of its media agencies with creative agencies in an effort to streamline the operations between the two, this appears to be a step to further fold research expertise into the media units themselves.
Highly respected executive
Interpublic, however, would not discuss the reasons behind the closure or the release of Ms. Koerner, highly regarded as one of the industry's leading thinkers. "It's not something we are in a position to speak about at this time," said Tom Cunningham, associate director-corporate communications.
In 2003, Advertising Age named Ms. Koerner a Media Maven. The following year she became the first research professional inducted into American Advertising Federation's Hall of Achievement.
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Claire Atkinson contributed to this report.