Troubled IPG Agency Names New Creative Chief and CEO

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NEW YORK (Adage.com) -- Interpublic Group of Cos.’ troubled network Lowe Worldwide, currently in the midst of a reorganization, has shaken up its New York leadership, removing chairman and chief creative office Gary Goldsmith, the agency said.
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To replace Mr. Goldsmith, Lowe's global CEO, Tony Wright, has brought in Mark Wnek, formerly a top creative at London-based Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper Partners, part of Havas.

In addition, Susan Cantor, the New York office president, has been promoted to CEO.

After leaving Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, Mr. Wnek started an agency in late 2003 with Ben Langdon, who was ousted as regional director for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Interpublic Group of Co.s' McCann Erickson.

Startup agency
The startup by two of the most controversial and outspoken admen in London was called Ben Mark Orlando, after Havas refused him permission to use the Wnek name. The volatile partnership ship lasted just ten weeks, until Mr. Langdon dramatically deserted the agency in March 2004 to take Mr. Wnek's former job as chairman of Euro RSCG London.

Since the agency closed, Mr. Wnek has been writing an opinionated weekly advertising column for The Independent newspaper in London.

Chris Pinnington, the chief executive of Euro RSCG UK, said, "Mark is an obsessive character and will be obsessed about getting this right. I couldn't think of a better person to be thrown into an agency that needs a shot in the arm."

Christian Hinchcliffe, marketing director of McCann Erickson London, who used to be marketing director at Euro, said, "Mark is one of the larger than life players in the advertising industry. He's always had his own way of doing things which inevitably result in ideas that have grown his clients' business."

A trouble spot for IPG
The network, identified by Interpublic's chairman-CEO, Michael Roth, as a trouble spot that needs to be fixed, has been hammered in recent years as marketer's such as HSBC and Braun move their accounts out of the agency. Unilever’s global detergent business, much of which is at Lowe, is now in review. On the positive side, the agency was recently part of an Interpublic team that landed the highly prized Nokia account.

Mr. Wright was recruited last year from WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather, New York, where he was chief strategy officer, to help right the agency. Early this year, he unveiled a turnaround plan that included refocusing on the Lowe brand’s creative heritage and stripping out a layer of senior management.

Mr. Goldsmith has been at Lowe since 1996, when his boutique Goldsmith/Jeffrey was acquired by the agency. A release from the agency said Mr. Goldsmith is leaving the agency "to pursue other opportunities." He could not be reached for comment.

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