Euro RSCG Life Combines Agencies Covering 44 Offices in 16 Markets

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NEW YORK ( -- Euro RSCG Worldwide is creating a single profit and loss structure for its global health-care businesses, a move that could soon be replicated in other divisions of the Havas' owned agency.

A new entity, Euro RSCG Life, will house a myriad of health-focused agencies around the globe that together recorded capitalized billings of $1.6 million in 2002. A separate management team is also being put in place to run the unit.

$100 million Aventis review
Ron Pantello, newly appointed CEO of Euro RSCG Life, said the agency had outlined the potential health-care realignment during its pitch for Aventis' diabetes drug Lantus. When it won the $100 million account it, the company put the plan into action. Mr. Pantello, formerly CEO of Euro RSCG Healthview, said: "The rationale is to be client-centric, and have a media-neutral offering. We wanted to be in a position to offer the best product."

Competition to land new health accounts,

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such as Pfizer's Zoloft, Zyrtec, Valdecoxib, is fierce. Those brands had been with Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, New York, until agency and marketer parted ways after a disagreement over the drug company's requests for information during the renegotiation of compensation agreements.

Meanwhile, competition in the health sector is heating up, with Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York, last week announcing a bid to enter the health sector in a serious way. The company said it is launching BBDO Health Work and appointed Anne Devereux as president.

Euro RSCG Worldwide counts Pfizer, Aventis, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis among its major health industry clients. While Mr. Pantello admitted that closer cooperation between units could result in greater client conflicts, he said that operating units "would still be individual and have firewalls" between agencies.

New management
While Mr. Pantello becomes CEO of the new entity, Saunder Flaum, formerly CEO of Robert A. Becker Euro RSCG, becomes chairman. Mark Goldstone is the network's chief operating officer. That team will manage a number of companies that will be rebranded using Euro RSCG upfront as part of their names, among them are two advertising agencies, Robert A. Becker and LM&P; medical education firm Genecom; PR agency Noonan Russo Presence; and interactive shop Circle. In total, the change affects 44 health-focused offices in 16 markets and will lead to up to 20 job cuts as back-office functions are combined.

Mr. Pantello indicated the single profit and loss structure would be rolled out around the organization. "In this economy it's the only way to service our business."

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