RICHES ADDS N. AMERICA LEAD ROLE FOR O&M DIRECT: CEO WILL EXTEND SHOP'S INTERACTIVE CAPABILITIES TO OTHER OFFICES

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Ogilvy & Mather Direct last week added to Wendy Riches' CEO title the designation of chairman of North America, putting her in charge of three additional offices at the $1 billion unit of WPP Group.

As the lead North American manager for the agency, Ms. Riches will add day-to-day management responsibilities for offices in Chicago, Los Angeles and Toronto to her New York duties, filling a role Reimer Thedens, chairman-CEO of O&M Direct Worldwide, London, handled as acting North America chairman last year.

`LONG HALLWAYS' MANAGEMENT

Ms. Riches said her promotion will help her enact the "long hallways" agency management concept championed by O&M Worldwide Chairman-CEO Shelly Lazarus.

Her first two priorities will be to bolster interactive capabilities in offices beyond O&M Interactive's New York headquarters and restructure the agency's North American board to improve communication between all offices.

Mr. Thedens said that during 1997 he'd like to see O&M Direct's North American operations boost business from existing clients. O&M Direct Worldwide's growth in other regions has outpaced North America's in recent years.

Ogilvy's North American direct offices were responsible for $386 million in billings in `96, about 40% of the agency's global total in direct. O&M Direct's New York office reported $259 million of those billings.

While Ms. Riches acknowledged the agency has different clients and services in each of its offices-Chicago is heavy on package-goods clients and promotion services, New York on interactive and database services, and Los Angeles a hub for telecommunications business-she wants to see more collaboration.

ONE-TO-ONE COMING

Ogilvy & Mather insiders have said in recent weeks her promotion could foreshadow major changes on a global scale for O&M Direct, among them a possible name change at the agency from O&M Direct to Ogilvy One.

Those reports were countered by O&M's announcement last week that the agency will collaborate beginning this fall with the Direct Marketing Education Foundation to offer up to four Ogilvy One-to-One direct full-pay marketing fellowships, each lasting two years and allowing fellows at O&M's direct offices designated mentors and first crack at job openings in direct.

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