An executive close to Y&R said the goal is to find someone to "ensure that Impiric is working seamlessly with the other Y&R companies." The search is being con- ducted by Gilbert Taney Farlie, New York, although the recruiter declined comment.
The title for the new post was not revealed, but the executive said it will be an Impiric -- not a Y&R -- position. It is not clear how the post will affect Impiric Chairman-CEO John R. "Jay" Bingle.
Mr. Bingle and Y&R Inc. Chairman-CEO Mike Dolan were not available to comment.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE
"We are always looking to bolster our senior executive talent across all our companies," said a Y&R spokesman, adding, "This is particularly the case in a fast-changing, technology-driven sector such as database marketing and customer relationship management."
The executive close to the agency said one of Mr. Dolan's primary priorities is to improve what he already considers Y&R's differentiating factor -- its integrated marketing services capabilities. "Mike wants to push that envelope even further and continue to make that a proven point of difference for what will be the Y&R group within WPP," by adding or upgrading top talent, the executive said.
Impiric's 1999 U.S. revenue climbed 11.9% to $195 million, ranking it No. 4 among U.S. marketing services agencies. But the industry is moving faster. The top five marketing services agencies ranked by U.S. revenue saw an average 22.8% increase last year.
Howard Draft, chairman-CEO of No. 3 marketing services agency Draft Worldwide, said the industry will continue to grow at more than 20% a year in direct marketing and promotions, and in excess of that when digital marketing is added.
Although Mr. Draft had not heard about Impiric's search, he said "it wouldn't surprise me. They've gone a lot towards consulting people, and now they'd like to go to agency people."
Impiric clients include Citibank, Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln and Mercury brands, and Sony Electronics. In June, the shop lost the direct marketing portion of the $100 million H&R Block account to Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis and the direct portion of the U.S. Army's $130 million account to Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago.
Impiric holds the No. 2 spot when ranked by non-U.S. revenue, behind Ogilvy & Mather's OgilvyOne, which is also owned by WPP Group. It is the only shop in the top 10 ranked by international revenue to experience a downturn, with non-U.S. revenue falling 5.6% last year to $148 million.