Future hinges on management, rebranding

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Difficult only begins to describe 2001 for Lowe. The agency scored some big wins, including Verizon Communications' $400 million account, Mass Mutual Financial Services and Saab Cars USA. But Lowe tallied net new billings of slightly more than $200 million, after losses including Dell Computer Corp. ($150 million), United Parcel Service , Coca-Cola Co.'s Sprite, Gillette Co.'s Oral-B, Lego Group and Nestle's Purina O.N.E.

Lowe continued to suffer from management upheaval as Lee Garfinkel, chairman-CEO and chief creative officer, departed in January. Paul Hammersley, Lowe's new CEO for North America, arrived in New York from London in June to reposition the agency, a task that's included laying off nearly 20% of staff. The agency also droppeed "Lintas & Partners" from its name, beginning 2002 simply as "Lowe."


Management stability is questioned, and Lowe's U.S. units appear destined to be reconfigured somehow with another Interpublic Group of Cos. shop.

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