A New Endeavor For Dowley

IPG's Bell still committed to entertainment

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%%STORYIMAGE_RIGHT%% Out-going Interpublic Sports & Entertainment Group Chairman-CEO, Mark Dowley is joining talent agency Endeavor, raising questions about the ripple effect that his hire may have on both sides of the intersection of Madison+Vine.

The news that Dowley will open a New York office of Endeavor Marketing Solutions has left the marketing-through-entertainment community to ponder several things: Will Dowley's arrival be complementary or duplicative at the tenpercentery vis-à-vis Jimmy Yaffe, the current head of Endeavor Marketing Solutions, the corporate consulting and branded entertainment group? And does Dowley's exit also signal a retrenchment on Interpublic's part in the branded entertainment space?

As for the first question, Endeavor Marketing Solutions has experienced attrition during the past year, notably the departure of two of its key agents, twin brothers Mark and Erik Stroman, who left earlier this year to hang their own shingle, Entertainment Marketing Partners, with JetBlue Airways as one of their founding clients.

According to execs close to the situation, Dowley had been negotiating with Endeavor partner Ari Emanuel about the possibility of bringing on board his former clients. Dowley is known to be close to American Express Co.'s John Hayes, exec VP-global advertising and brand management. AmEx has been an event-marketing client of McCann-Erickson WorldGroup's Momentum Worldwide. Dowley also worked on event-marketing programs for the likes of AT&T Corp., Coca-Cola Co. and General Motors Corp.

Both Endeavor and Dowley declined to comment. Amex did not return a call at press time.

This pact with Endeavor marks the culmination of Dowley's long-held ambition to become a mover in talent agency circles. Endeavor represents stars such as Ben Affleck and Drew Barrymore.

With Dowley's exit, current IPG Chairman-CEO David Bell, currently in cost-cutting mode, will dismantle IPSEG and have each of the operating companies report directly to the New York-based holding company. Individual IPSEG units include PMK/HBH, Bragman Nyman Cafarelli, and Octagon Sports.

%%PULLQUOTE_LEFT%% In an internal memorandum disseminated this week, Bell maintained that the dissolution of IPSEG in no way should be interpreted as Interpublic walking away from the sports and entertainment arena.

"The organic collaboration we are seeing among these best-in-class companies is such that we recently concluded that the IPSEG infrastructure had become redundant," explained Bell in the communique. "We should benefit as they will now be free to more easily connect with all of Interpublic and our more than 4,500 clients. And because these businesses are so effective at collaboration across all of our companies, they will be an important focus of our growth efforts."

Dowley's departure from IPG is the culmination of a meteoric rise within McCann-Erickson. Dowley had been championed by former-Interpublic Chairman-CEO John Dooner, now Chairman-CEO of McCann-Erickson WorldGroup. Dowley became vice chairman of McCann-Erickson before being named head of the Interpublic Sports & Entertainment Group in early 2002.

Dowley began his tenure at Interpublic in June 1996, when he sold his events marketing company Ad:vent to the company. By 1997 he had risen to Chairman-CEO of McCann-Erickson's Momentum Worldwide and was charged with opening offices all over the world and making a series of acquisitions. Dowley spearheaded the acquisition of Hollywood A-list agency PMK, which later merged with PR shop HBH.

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