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Interpublic Group Names New CFO

Frank Mergenthaler Was Formerly With Columbia House

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NEW YORK ( -- Troubled advertising holding company Interpublic Group of Cos. today named Frank Mergenthaler as the latest in a series of chief financial officers.

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Mr. Mergenthaler, who was previously executive vice president and CFO at Columbia House, a direct marketer of music and entertainment videos and DVDs, replaces Robert Thompson, who resigned in early June.

Mr. Thompson lasted only a year in the position he took over from Chris Coughlin; Mr. Coughlin resigned after a year as CFO.

Corporate turmoil
Mr. Mergenthaler, who officially beings Aug. 1, takes over the company's financial affairs in the midst of continuing corporate tumult that began in August 2002 when Interpublic revealed what would be the first in a series of financial restatements to fix improper accounting. The holding company is now being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In a statement issued this morning, Michael I. Roth, Interpublic's chairman-CEO, lauded Mr. Mergenthaler as a "first-class executive who has personal experience with and great command of every facet of the finance function. He's comfortable and effective in dealing with operating issues and has a strong strategic sense. His experiences in related industries and at a major accounting firm provide a unique background that will allow him to step in and make significant contributions here at Interpublic."

Accounting firm partner
Prior to Columbia House, Mr. Mergenthaler held positions at Seagram Co., Vivendi Universal and was a partner in the accounting firm Price Waterhouse.

In his section of the statement, Mr. Mergenthaler said, "In the complex media environment we all face, there's an increasing need on the part of clients for effective marketing programs and services. I'm excited to work with [Mr. Roth], who made it very clear that he was looking for a CFO who would serve as his operating partner and be an important driver of the turnaround to which he is committed."

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