Newsmakers stand out in difficult year

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Charlotte Beers

Who would ever have thought that a seat on the corporate board of a corporate jet maker would get longtime ad executive Charlotte Beers a big seat at the table in America's war against terrorism? Then again, a fellow board member at Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., Colin Powell, became U.S. Secretary of State. Mr. Powell's selection of Ms. Beers as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, in an effort to "rebrand" the U.S. and the State Department, drew little scrutiny before the Sept. 11 terrorist incidents. It attracted considerably more attention when she was confirmed for the post soon after the attacks. The job puts Ms. Beers in the position of heading the State Department's media and communications operations, and the attacks threw out the window her plan to switch the State Department's direction from aiming at influencers to aiming at the masses gradually. Under the pressure of wartime, she and the U.S. immediately faced the task of countering negative commentary in the Muslim world. Ms. Beers said the United States is faced with "a battle for the mind" and the need to tell moderate Muslims that the U.S. isn't fighting Islam. "What do [American values like] freedom and tolerance mean?" asked Ms. Beers, who in her long agency career headed J. Walter Thompson Co. and Ogilvy & Mather. "We are having people who are not our friends define America in negative terms. It is time for us to reignite the understanding of America."

Gordon Bethune

Folksy Continental Airlines Chairman-CEO Gordon Bethune appeared in a TV spot for the carrier early in 2001 for the first time. He was supposed to be largely anonymous. But even if Mr. Bethune had taken a prominent speaking role, it's hard to believe he would have gained as much notice as he did in the days just after the Sept. 11 attacks. In a move that some saw as heartless as the country struggled to find itself, Mr. Bethune announced Continental-which was viewed as a rare well-run airline-was furloughing 12,000 workers. The former Navy man pressed the federal government to immediately provide financial aid for the airlines as air travel dropped. He warned the attacks were costing the airlines up to $400 million a day. Mr. Bethune led the charge to Washington for the kind of handout that perhaps hadn't been seen since Chrysler sought a federal bailout. He was largely successful-the industry received $5 billion in cash-and later told a TV reporter he began the process in part because "I'm not running for office." Mr. Bethune did recover some of his man-of-the-people image by forgoing his salary through the end of the year.

David Carey

What was 2001's top soap opera in the glitzy, gossipy hallways of Conde Nast? Well, it's always hard to choose, but the strange saga of David Carey, past and present publisher of The New Yorker, is the logical choice. Mr. Carey began the year with a bang, resigning his perch at The New Yorker-Conde Nast Publications is an organization that, like some other, ah, organizations, people don't generally resign from-to become president-CEO of Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing's Business Information Group. That division, later retitled the Business Innovators Group, encompasses new purchases Inc. and Fast Company-and it's well documented how well business and new-economy magazines did in 2001. So in August, Mr. Carey made his way back to Conde Nast's familiar embrace, adding VP to his title and displacing his handpicked successor and former associate publisher, David Kahn, who briefly ran the Conde Nast Image Center before it was shuttered in October. Thomas Wolfe-the author who wrote "You Can't Go Home Again"-never met this man.

John Dooner

John J. Dooner Jr. succeeded Philip Geier as chairman-CEO of Interpublic Group of Cos. on Jan. 1. By the end of June, Mr. Dooner was at the helm of the largest holding company in a depressed industry, after Interpublic completed its $2.1 billion acquisition of True North Communications. The True North deal brought New York-based Interpublic a third global agency network-Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide-and a nice roster of clients including Clairol, Coors Brewing Co. and Kraft Foods. But conflicts also cost Interpublic several major clients, which departed with more than $400 million in billings. Not happy sharing Interpublic with uber-rival Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo took more than $300 million in business to Omnicom Group; McCann-Erickson World-wide resigned $150 million in Reckitt Benckiser business to allow sibling agency FCB to keep S.C. Johnson & Son. With the recession rolling, in midsummer Interpublic announced it would cut more than 5,000 employees and take $500 million in restructuring charges in 2001 due to "an abrupt change" in revenue trends. Ad budgets receded further after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Interpublic's stock price during Mr. Dooner's first year reflects these turbulent times: From a 52-week high of $47 in January, Interpublic's stock had dropped 38% by December-but at $29 per share, the price was a 58% improvement from an October low of $18.25.

Rudolph Giuliani

In New York, the man needed no last name-even before Sept. 11. But afterward, the whole country was on a first-name basis with "Rudy." He went from lame-duck mayor, failed candidate for the Senate, a man with marital problems and prostate cancer, to the embodiment of New Yorkers' indomitable spirit, not to mention being knighted by the Queen of England and named Time's Person of the Year. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was already a colorful figure before he went into crisis mode after the attack on the World Trade Center, but in the aftermath of the tragedy, he was pressed into service as the city's public face. He became New York's top pitchman, trying to calm the fears of wary tourists, and appearing arm in arm with his former nemesis, New York Gov. George Pataki, in a TV commercial created for the Empire State Development Corp. by the Wolf Group, New York, inviting the world to "come see New York in its finest hour." Mayor Giuliani also appears, along with New York celebrity icons including Woody Allen and Robert De Niro, in a national TV campaign that Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide created pro bono to boost tourism in the Big Apple. The spots are tagged "The New York miracle-come be a part of it."

Steven Heyer

Coca-Cola Co. outsider Steven J. Heyer wasted little time fizzing things up at the soft-drink goliath as its top marketing executive. Since Mr. Heyer joined Coca-Cola last March from president of AOL Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting System, Coca-Cola has consolidated most of its brands at Interpublic Group of Cos. and WPP Group, leading to new renewed friction with archnemesis PepsiCo. Coca-Cola also purchased juice marketer Odwalla and nixed a criticized alliance with Procter & Gamble Co. Mr. Heyer, holding the title of president-CEO of Coca-Cola's New Business Ventures unit, has consolidated and reorganized the marketing departments within Coca-Cola North America and its corporate arm. Under Mr. Heyer, Coke is expected to favor local grass-roots marketing over big-budget ad campaigns such as McCann-Erickson Worldwide's "Life tastes good" effort. Several executives in and outside the company suggest Mr. Heyer could be Coca-Cola's next chairman-CEO, if he doesn't leave first due to cultural wrangling at the soft-drink company.

Chris Ingram

After years of watching WPP Group's stake in his company creep up to 22%, Tempus Group founder and Chairman Chris Ingram agreed in July to sell his London-based international media buying group to Havas Advertising to escape the clutches of WPP Chief Executive Martin Sorrell. Mr. Sorrell made a counteroffer, and a bidding war looked imminent. Events across the Atlantic, however, would end up sending Tempus to Mr. Sorrell, even though by that point he didn't necessarily want it. After Sept. 11, the ad market collapsed, the Tempus deal looked overpriced and Havas gratefully let its offer lapse. Mr. Sorrell tried to get out of the $630 million deal by invoking the rarely used "material adverse change" clause, but was turned down by the U.K.'s Takeover Panel. Mr. Ingram stubbornly refused to release current financial data that might have given Mr. Sorrell ammunition for killing the deal, and the WPP chief finally agreed to complete the acquisition.

Mel Karmazin

When Mel Karmazin wasn't taking a renegade stand against advertisers in a faltering market in 2001, the tough-talking broadcasting executive was luring a top advertiser with a cross-platform deal that served up a buffet of Viacom media properties. Viacom's president-chief operating officer hung tough during the spring upfront TV selling period, even though the prime-time market was expected to sink $1 billion below 2000 levels. As rival networks cut deals, Mr. Karmazin held back some airtime on CBS rather than sell it for what he felt was below market value. Others scoffed, but when the fourth quarter arrived, Mr. Karmazin's network got prices in the scatter market that were higher than upfront, and higher than scatter a year earlier, though CBS was still more than $400 million behind where it should have been. Before the upfront market kicked off, Viacom cinched a groundbreaking $300 million cross-platform deal with Procter & Gamble Co.

Steven Reinemund

Roger "How Pepsi Won the Cola Wars" Enrico made his mark in the world of soft drinks and marketing during his years at PepsiCo, and Steven Reinemund seemed to don that mantle quickly when he succeeded Mr. Enrico as chairman-CEO in 2001. The 53-year-old Mr. Reinemund, a 16-year PepsiCo veteran, moved up from president-chief operating officer, and before that headed PepsiCo's Frito-Lay. Mr. Reinemund's snack savvy will come into play as the company builds on the Quaker Oats Co. portfolio, acquired for $13.8 billion, which ranges from Gatorade to oatmeal. The former Marine captain led his company into a new battle with archrival Coca-Cola Co., when PepsiCo sued to stop FCB, Chicago, from moving staffers onto Coca-Cola work the agency had been awarded after being dropped by PepsiCo's Quaker. PepsiCo and Interpublic Group of Cos.' FCB reached a settlement in late November, but it was unclear whether the agency would recapture much of the Coca-Cola work.

Brian Williams

In a single job move, Brian Williams managed to create more controversy and interest in himself than he may have generated over his entire career. When he left his post as president of Interpublic's FCB, Chicago, to follow the agency's crown jewel client, Quaker Oats, to Omnicom, Mr. Williams sparked a firestorm of outrage and intrigue. Interpublic lost its attempt to sue Mr. Williams and Omnicom for the defection, after which the PepsiCo-owned Quaker retaliated with two lawsuits against FCB to prevent the Interpublic shop from using its Quaker-skilled staff to handle competing Coca-Cola brands. After weeks of legal wrangling, both sides settled, and more than 50 FCBers with Quaker experience were allowed to join Mr. Williams at Omnicom.

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