A senior Publicis executive in Europe said that Colin Hearn, former 141 Worldwide president, is expected to head to the U.S. with much of the team that had worked for Allied Domecq. The Cordiant Group-owned 141 Worldwide was acquired by WPP Group last month. (London-based Mr. Hearn, who resigned from 141 on June 23, was not reachable by press time.)
It is still unclear where the former 141 staff will be located, though one company insider said they are expected to join Publicis Dialog. Other executives said Publicis Groupe plans to merge many of its smaller below-the-line shops into its two main marketing-services brands: Publicis Dialog and Frankel. The idea is that Publicis Dialog will act as the East and West Coast agency while Frankel will service the Midwest.
"Publicis is the ad brand, which will be aligned with Publicis Dialog, while Frankel will be aligned with Leo Burnett," said one executive with knowledge of the current plans. "iLeo, which is being renamed, will be merged into Frankel, along with Semaphore Partners, while Arc will be merged into Publicis Dialog globally, but into Frankel in the U.S." A separate executive familiar with discussions confirmed the plans for Arc Integrated Marketing, a former D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles division that specializes in promotions. In the U.S., it is based in Connecticut.
John Farrell, president-CEO of Publicis Groupe's SAMS division, wouldn't comment on the details of the plans, which are yet to be greenlighted by senior management at the holding company. But he said, "We are trying to make sure everything is organized and clear for our people, clients and prospects. ... We are looking to build a strong holistic offering."
A Burnett spokeswoman would not comment on specific plans, except to say, "Publicis Groupe is building a robust marketing services capability in readiness to best serve our clients. The details of the architecture and structure are currently being worked out."
The reorganization, which has frustrated many staff members who are desperate for clearer reporting lines, is expected to wrap up in January 2004. Publicis Groupe had earlier predicted the changes would be in place by April 2003 (AA, March 31).
The holding company's third major network, Saatchi & Saatchi, which has maintained it wants to remain free of alignments, is also involved in the changes. Bill Cochran, Saatchi's worldwide chief financial officer, has worked with Mr. Farrell to determine the future of Saatchi & Saatchi Rowland Communications, executives said. One executive said the agency is expected to merge with another Publicis PR agency, Manning, Selvage & Lee (its spokeswoman had no comment.) Rowland's biggest client was DuPont, which consolidated its business globally at WPP Group's Oglivy & Mather.
Manning will move this week to a former D'Arcy office location at 1675 Broadway in New York. The building is also occupied by former D'Arcy shop Masius, and larger agencies such as MediaVest Worldwide and health unit Medicus Group.