2001 Rating: 1.5 stars
Anyone left at Cordiant Communications Group's Bates Worldwide must be relieved that 2002 is over. Key media and creative accounts-Hyundai Motor of America, Hyundai Dealers Association and Wendy's International-departed in the past year, resulting in a stunning yearend billings net loss of $498 million. Bates' 141 Worldwide unit did score a notable win in being named global marketing services agency for all Allied Domecq spirits. Midyear, Bates USA media buying merged into Optimedia of ZenithOptimedia Group, in which Cordiant owns a 25% stake. Bates North America CEO Bill Whitehead left in May, and in September Cordiant CEO Michael Bungey announced his retirement, effective Jan. 1. Left in charge as 2003 dawns: David Hearn, a Brit who joined Cordiant only last March as chairman-CEO, Bates Worldwide.
New York-based Bates USA and its siblings worldwide face an overhaul as Mr. Hearn integrates Bates Advertising, marketing services network 141, branding and design agency Fitch, and healthcare shop Healthworld into the Bates Group, with one P&L. If that succeeds, expect Mr. Hearn, 47, to find a new parent for the Bates Group and a new gig for himself.