OMNICOM TO REVAMP MEDIA UNDER SIMM: AS EX-P&G EXEC TAKES GLOBAL POST, MORE UNITS TO MOVE UNDER GROUP

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With the addition of Daryl Simm as president-CEO of worldwide media, Omnicom Group is planning to reconfigure its Optimum Media Direction unit, soon to be renamed OMD Group.

Omnicom President-CEO John Wren anticipates moving soon-to-be-acquired GGT Group properties, including St. Louis-based Advanswers and its New York-based Paul Schulman Co. subsidiary, under that umbrella.

MOVING TO OMD

Recently acquired Harrison, Young, Pesonen & Newell, Toronto, also will fall under OMD, but it hasn't been determined if New York-based Creative Media will be.

All media units of New York-based Omnicom, except BBDO Worldwide's Media Direction and DDB Needham Worldwide's Optimum Media, will report to Mr. Simm, who last week joined the holding company from the post of VP-media and programming at Procter & Gamble Co.

Mr. Simm said he will focus at first on Europe and Asia, noting that "that's where the biggest opportunities present themselves."

Optimum Media Direction is being renamed OMD Group to avoid confusion with Optimum Media, which this week absorbs the media planning operations of sister agency Griffin Bacal. Omnicom and DDB Needham executives denied speculation the move is a prelude to absorbing Griffin Bacal, a New York agency that specializes in marketing to kids.

GOING AFTER P&G?

Mr. Simm's move has industry executives speculating that Omnicom may try to nab some P&G business. Although some media executives dismiss the notion, others who know both P&G and Omnicom do not.

Mr. Wren spoke of P&G's marketing power in a December speech, noting: "In the next round of consolidations, clients will have a greater influence than ever before. The client with the biggest influence may be the world's largest marketer, P&G. . . . It will be interesting to see if P&G will modify its conflict policy in the future." (See related story on Page 1.)

TOO MANY OBSTACLES

Last week, however, Mr. Wren said "presently there are far too many obstacles to make [going after P&G accounts] possible."

Executives at P&G agencies are not happy about Mr. Simm's move to Omnicom. Some media executives suggested he may have already known he was leaving the marketer last year during its TV buying consolidation review. MacManus Group's TeleVest in November won the $1.2 billion U.S. buying assignment Messrs. Wren and Simm would not comment on when their discussions began but acknowledged they were in talks for a few months.

P&G agency media executives are concerned because they presented detailed strategic and media capabilities to Mr. Simm during that review. Omnicom handles P&G competitors such as Johnson & Johnson, Unilever and Henkel.

Mr. Simm said he will not deal with these clients as his role has "business responsibilities," not "[specific] client responsibilities."

Mr. Wren added: "He will not be involved with any of the agency groups handling Unilever or J&J or Henkel."

Contributing: Chuck Ross

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