SAATCHI MOVES TEXACO TO BATES

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NEW YORK-Charles Scott, the chief executive and aggressive consolidator of Saatchi & Saatchi Co., flexed his management muscle last week in shifting the Texaco account from Campbell Mithun Esty to sister agency Bates USA.

It is an unusual move-one that turns CME, Houston, into a Bates agency-but it's unlikely to be Mr. Scott's last.

Industry executives predict a gradual fusion of Bates and other CME offices.

Already this year Bates has absorbed two other Saatchi units, McCaffrey & McCall and AC&R, both New York.

The Texaco account, which bills about $50 million, becomes the third largest for Bates, New York. Taking over CME's Houston office adds an estimated $76.5 million in billings to Bates' bottom line.

Agency insiders said the recent, quiet departure of Patricia Stewart prompted the account move. She was New York exec VP-executive managing director on the Texaco and Travelers Corp. accounts.

However, Bill Dunlap, CME Worldwide CEO, who'll continue to work with Texaco through Bates, said he recommended the account shift so Texaco could take advantage of Bates' larger resources.

Mr. Dunlap denied estimates that the New York office's billings, $192 million in 1993, have been halved.

This year, in addition to Texaco, the agency lost $30 million in billings from Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. Further, client Aer Lingus is reviewing its $2 million account.

The Texaco loss and Bates' absorption of the Houston operation make the New York office CME's smallest. CME's other U.S. offices are in Minneapolis and Chicago. A Southfield, Mich., outpost was sold last year to Bozell Worldwide.

A Saatchi spokesman denied plans to further consolidate CME, noting, "We remain committed to CME as a brand within the group."

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