Lord, Geller, Federico, Einstein, New York
A highly respected, award-winning copywriter and a founder of Lord, Geller, Federico, Einstein in 1967, Dick Lord dramatically demonstrated what agency independence was worth. With the IBM Corp. account in hand, he and his partners sold their agency to J. Walter Thompson Co. only to have Martin Sorrell's WPP Group acquire JWT in 1987. Autonomous Lord Geller became part of the deal. WPP then trimmed Lord Geller's bonus and profit-sharing plans, added paperwork and challenged its autonomy. Lord and key executives secretly created another outside agency and, in March 1988, walked out to join it, free of WPP. Reacting to this rebellion against British rule, WPP sued Lord's It cost them an estimated $7 million to regain their agency's "freedom."