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

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