U.S. shops pitch for HSBC's $500M biz

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[New York] HSBC Group heard U.S. pitches last week from the three holding companies vying for its estimated $500 million global account and will see presentations in Europe this week as the 12-city global pitch, which started in Asia, nears an end. The contenders are WPP Group, Interpublic Group of Cos. and Omnicom Group. Toby Hoare, the former head of Bates Europe, is leading the WPP team of J. Walter Thompson, Red Cell, MindShare and 141 Worldwide. Michael Baulk, chairman of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, London, and Chris Thomas, chief executive of Proximity, London, are heading the Omnicom pitch involving media specialists OMD and PHD as well as BBDO and Proximity. Interpublic's client management director, Mark Wilmot, is in charge of that team, including Lowe & Partners, Initiative Media, MRM and Plus Consultancy Group. At the beginning of the review, HSBC Chief Marketing Officer Peter Stringham said he wanted to consolidate all HSBC marketing-services business within a single holding company, but acknowledged that might not be possible.