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FIVE PARTNERS EXIT MCKENNA THREE HIGH TECH CONSULTANCIES CREATED BY FORMER EMPLOYEES

By Published on .

Five senior consultants have left Regis McKenna Inc., high tech marketing guru Regis McKenna's company, since March to strike out on their own. The apparently cordial exodus cost the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company half its partners on the consulting side.

Both sides attribute the departures to personal lifestyle choices and the firm's changing business model.

"Glenn [Helton] and Rosemarie [Remacle] and Page [Allou] wanted to spin out and do their own firm," said Greg Ruff, senior partner for McKenna's consulting business. "They did it with our blessing."

In June, that trio formed a consultancy called Positioning Strategies to counsel high tech clients on positioning, particularly involving the "convergence" of computing, communications and media. Ms. Allou and Ms. Remacle are semiconductor specialists, while Mr. Helton led McKenna's efforts with Apple Computer for eight years.

Last month Dave Carnevale, a personal computer and communications specialist who came to Mc-Kenna from market researcher Computer Intelligence InfoCorp., La Jolla, Calif., set up practice in Los Altos, Calif., as Market Vision Consulting. Mr. Carnevale said he wanted to work with smaller companies and to try a "virtual" consulting practice rather than working in a large organization.

Karen Kang, who left McKenna March 31 after five years, is a corporate and product positioning consultant in Palo Alto, operating under her own name. She cited a desire to spend more time with her family and weariness with managing as reasons for departing.

McKenna's Mr. Ruff said clients have taken the departures in stride and indicated not all five positions would be filled.

Other McKenna alumni have founded high tech consultancies and public relations firms, including Cunningham Communications, Santa Clara, Calif., and Cambridge, Mass., and San Francisco-based Jennings & Co., recently acquired by New York's GCI Group.

The departures come as the McKenna organization is changing. The consulting practice is shifting from one-on-one work with high-level marketing executives to a "leveraged model," using senior McKenna consultants to lead teams of junior consultants, Mr. Ruff said.

The second part of the McKenna operation is strategic communications, including emerging ways to market online and via the Internet.

A third arm deals with electronic publishing and online research, another new business.

"We're building the infrastructure to do real-time research" for specific clients or general research, Mr. Ruff said.

That unit will inherit Real Time Marketing, Mc-Kenna's marketing forum on eWorld, Apple Computer's online service.

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