Lowe Group to combine two divisions

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Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe Group will combine two of its agency divisions by folding Long Haymes Carr, Winston-Salem, N.C., into Mullen, Wenham, Mass. The new agency will be led by Mullen President-CEO Joe Grimaldi. Current Mullen shops in Wenham and Detroit will retain the Mullen name, while Long Haymes Carr will be rebranded as Mullen/LHC. Long Haymes Carr Chairman-CEO Steve Zades said he will remain in North Carolina for up to two months to assist with the transition and then move to Lowe's Worldwide Group in New York as an exec VP.

Although billings for the two agencies were comparable in 1999, with Mullen showing a total volume of $340.3 million and Long Haymes Carr taking in $352.5 for the same time period, the North Carolina agency had income of $28.2 million for that year, compared with Mullen's $51 million, according to Advertising Age numbers. Long Haymes Carr's 1999 income was down 13.7 percent from the year before, while Mullen's rose 33.7 percent. For the year 2000, the Lowe Group said Mullen had $420 million in billings and Long Haymes Carr had $200 million. Both agencies have been housed under the Lowe Group since 1999.

It's not unusual for IPG to combine agencies to foster in an attempt to improve performance. In 1999, Interpublic combined its Lowe agency with Ammirati Puris Lintas to form Lowe Lintas & Partners.

Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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