INTERPUBLIC TAKES LEGAL ACTION AGAINST FRANK LOWE

Ad Exec's Startup Agency Poaches Major IPG Client

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Interpublic Group of Cos. has begun legal proceedings against Frank Lowe, whose startup agency recently walked off with a major client from the Interpublic-owned agency he founded.
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In a brief statement, the holding company said Mr. Lowe violated “contractual and fiduciary duties arising from his tenure at the head of its Lowe Worldwide agency network.” Interpublic has filed its claim with the American Arbitration Association in the state of New York.

The release read that Interpublic’s “claim states that, using confidential and proprietary information related to clients and agency personnel that was garnered as a result of his employment by Lowe Worldwide, Mr. Lowe has begun a campaign to induce such executives and clients to leave the Lowe agency and join a rival firm which he is in the process of establishing.”

It continues: “Frank Lowe sold his agency to Interpublic in 1990 for tens of millions of dollars and subsequently received many times that amount in financial support and resources to build a global network, recruit and compensate key talent. Our claim states that, in breach of his continuing fiduciary responsibilities, he has chosen to use contacts and proprietary knowledge to damage Lowe and Interpublic. We will be asking the court for monetary compensation and injunctive action. We also intend to hold any Lowe employee seeking to join Mr. Lowe to their full notice period.”

In December, Mr. Lowe emerged from retirement and shocked the ad world by announcing he was starting an ad agency based in London. It was followed quickly by news that supermarket giant Tesco would take its $75 million account to the yet-to-be-named startup.

Mr. Lowe, who retired at the end of 2003, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Laurel Wentz contributed to this report.

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