Charlotte Beers is expected to pass her CEO title to President Shelly Lazarus in September and relinquish the chairmanship in January for a new post at parent WPP Group.
WPP sister agency J. Walter Thompson Co., as expected, will also get a new leader by yearend. Chris Jones, worldwide president, will succeed Chairman-CEO Burt Manning Jan. 1. Mr. Manning will stay on for at least another year with a title along the lines of non-executive chairman.
The successions at both agencies should go relatively smoothly since the reins are being turned over to heirs apparent.
Ms. Lazarus, 48, is a 25-year veteran of O&M. Before being named president-chief operating officer last December, she was president of North American operations.
Ms. Lazarus is widely credited with being a key player in the pitch that returned IBM Corp.'s $450 million worldwide business to O&M in May 1994.
FIRST WOMAN CEO
Ms. Beers, 61, is an ad industry powerhouse and was the first woman CEO in O&M's history. She arrived in 1992 from Tatham RSCG, Chicago, where she was CEO and vice chairman of parent Euro RSCG, Paris.
Under her watch, O&M added new brands to its roster, including Kodak, 7UP, KFC International, Martell, Alitalia and Sony. The agency also grew business from existing clients Unilever, Mattel, Duracell, Kraft Foods and American Express Co.
Ms. Beers was considered a key player in the Tatham and RSCG merger in 1988
Contributing: Jane Hodges and Pat Sloan.