Arnell vs. Arnell: Peter Out at Agency Now Helmed by Wife

Sues Former Agency, Parent Omnicom for Return of Collectibles

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CHICAGO, ( -- Peter Arnell, who recently made waves for a much-maligned redesign of Pepsi's Tropicana packaging as well as for his recent book, "Shift," will likely now be known for filing a lawsuit against Arnell Group and Omnicom Group, as well as for no longer being employed by his eponymous design agency.

Peter Arnell
Peter Arnell
Mr. Arnell on Feb. 4 filed a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court, after his Feb. 2 termination from Arnell Group, seeking the return of his collection of knickknacks purchased partially with the company's money -- or, in lieu of that the suit says, upward of $1 million, the estimated value of his vast collection of trinkets that includes "rare, unique one-of-a-kind, signed artist's volumes, first editions, photographs" as well as Mr. Arnell's "personal creative portfolios and other works."

Details of Mr. Arnell's termination were not known, although an executive familiar with the matter said that Sara Arnell, Mr. Arnell's wife, will replace him as CEO. Ms. Arnell was previously chief strategy officer at the agency.

Calls to Arnell Group and to were not returned by press time. A spokeswoman for Omnicom, Arnell Group's parent company, declined to comment, citing the holding company's policy not to comment on pending litigation or personnel matters.

Around Jan. 27, according to the complaint, Mr. Arnell sent a letter to Omnicom demanding that the array of oddities be returned to him, but the company refused.

The complaint claims that Omnicom's purchase of Arnell Group in June 2001 specifically excluded Mr. Arnell's library of curiosities. The complaint adds that the library was legally deemed to be Mr. Arnell's personal property under the acquisition agreement.

According to the suit, Mr. Arnell also has ownership rights to a "substantial percentage" of other miscellaneous collectibles bought since Omnicom's June 2001 acquisition of Arnell Group. The complaint said that Mr. Arnell suffers and "will continue to suffer irreparable damage" if his collection is unavailable to him.

Mr. Arnell founded the agency as Arnell in 1979. Arnell Group for a time used the name AG Worldwide after Interpublic Group of Cos.' Draft (now DraftFCB) purchased a controlling 55% in the shop. It reverted back to Arnell Group in 2001 following its buyback from Draft and subsequent sale to Omnicom.

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