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'This Is So Difficult' Says CEO

By Published on .

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- As expected, Publicis Groupe's Frankel cut 100 employees, or about 18% to 20% of its roughly 500-person workforce, as part of the sales promotion agency's restructuring plan.

The new organization will have fewer management layers, will organize client teams into groups and will allow lower-level staff-sharing between client groups.

'Had better days'
"We've had better days. This is so difficult," said newly installed Chairman-CEO Jim Mack, who added the company had been planning this restructuring even before the sluggish economy instigated client cutbacks and before the agency lost the Frito-Lay account in a consolidation of the PepsiCo unit's promotion agencies.

Mr. Mack, 49, will run the day-to-day operations of Frankel and its guerilla marketing unit Creative AIM, which it recently acquired. Mr. Mack succeeds Bud Frankel, who on Jan. 1 assumed the role of chairman emeritus. Agency President Dan Rose last week resigned after his post was eliminated to facilitate the flatter structure.

New chief creative officer
Bill Rosen, 39, rejoins Frankel on Feb. 4 as

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executive VP-chief creative officer, from principal at Integral Marketing and Creative, Chicago. He replaces Brian Robinson, who retired Dec. 31.

Mr. Mack said the new structure "is really more of a team approach" than a departmentalized approach and that it will "free up senior-level people who work with clients."

Within those teams, Kathy Hartman, 44, senior VP, will lead a newly created client group that includes the U.S. Postal Service, McDonald's Corp. and the Centers for Disease Control. Previously, she was senior VP-client services. Similarly, Eric Rosenthal, 44, senior VP, will lead the second account group that includes United Airlines, Visa, AT&T Wireless and PepsiCo's Tropicana. He was senior VP-account director.

Agency's new mantra
The new business model is meant to reflect the agency's new mantra, "Insights to Lead Ideas." To gather those apparent insights, the agency created a unit centered on account planning, a function typically associated with traditional advertising agencies rather than promotion firms.

Pam Church, 50, will lead that unit as executive VP-Insights and Ideas, from executive VP-client service.

"That will play big part to differentiate ourselves in the industry," Mr. Mack said.

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