JWT Europe overhauls network into clusters

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LONDON -- J. Walter Thompson Europe is overhauling its network to create a number of regional "clusters" and remove certain replicated functions from offices across the region.

Resources that could be centralized are finance, administration, media and planning. A cluster may have a lead agency in a region where one is much stronger than others, but not necessarily, says JWT Europe President Michael Madel. "If all [agencies in a cluster region] were equally strong, they might each take over the lead for different functions." However, creative and account management will always remain at local level, he stresses.

The plan is ultimately to have seven cluster regions but an initial three year program will put in place a Nordic cluster, a German-speaking cluster (of Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and an Eastern European one. An Iberian one, with Madrid as lead agency, and a U.K. co-operation (between London, Manchester and Dublin) already exist. Copenhagen would likely lead the Nordic region, Frankfurt the German and possibly Warsaw the East European one, Mandel says.

He claims the move is "quality-driven, not cost- driven" and motivated by "how we can realize synergies which allow us to concentrate on product, quality and client.

"It's a question of resources and creating jobs that are interesting enough to attract the best people in an area. Multi-country responsibility for a finance director is a pretty attractive job, for example."

The move is not intended to cut staff levels, Madel maintains, and no offices will close as a result. "We want to keep alive and strengthen the individual styles of the individual offices," he says.

Madel says he will be discussing the idea with other regions within the JWT network. "I'm looking at ways of how we can re-organize our business because agencies per se have not been at the forefront of organizational plans and schemes."

Copyright May 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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