FCB CLOSES WEST COAST HEALTH CARE UNIT

Staff, Account to Shift to New York Office

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- In another blow to the San Francisco ad community, Interpublic Group of Cos. is closing the West Coast operations of FCB HealthCare and shifting the business to its New York headquarters.

An spokesman for Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide said the health-care unit had about a dozen employees and that "about half a dozen" will move to New York, where the office's remaining health accounts will be handled.

West Coast woes
In a statement issued today, Tom Domanico, FCB's chairman-CEO and worldwide creative director, said the largest volume of business for the healthcare unit is "no longer on the West Coast." The statement said the move will be made by the end of the year.

FCB HealthCare was launched in San Francisco as Vicom Associates in 1977 to work with West Coast pharmaceutical firms. An East Coast unit was formed later to serve those marketers in the East. Current clients include Merck, Lilly, Endo Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, Yamanouchi and Johnson & Johnson, among others.

FCB's heyday
Foote, Cone & Belding's San Francisco office was once one of the largest agencies on the West Coast, with clients including Levi Stauss & Co., Pacific Bell and Taco Bell. In recent years, however, FCB's role on the Levi Strauss account has dwindled, with the main jeans brand now handled by Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

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