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Wells BDDP CEO Frank Assumma is said to be courting at least one top manager at J. Walter Thompson Co., New York, while former Wells CEO Kenneth Olshan is headed to Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide as non-executive board director.

Mr. Assumma, who succeeded Mr. Olshan in September 1995, is talking with JWT Worldwide Creative Director-Chief Creative Officer North America Helayne Spivak about Wells' vacant executive creative director spot.

Separately, Susan Gianinno, exec VP-general manager, JWT, New York, was recently approached by an executive recruiter about an undisclosed position at Wells.


Wells is looking at Ms. Spivak to fill the creative leadership void resulting from this summer's departure of Exec VP-Executive Creative Director Linda Kaplan Thaler.

Ms. Spivak couldn't be reached for comment; people familiar with the talks said she and Mr. Assumma have met several times.

Ms. Gianinno said she is not looking at other agencies and has no desire to leave JWT.

"I am not going to Wells and I have never discussed it with them," said Ms. Gianinno.

Mr. Assumma was out of the office and unavailable for comment. A Wells spokeswoman declined comment.

Mr. Olshan, who reached a settlement with Wells after being forced out in 1995 for not meeting earning expectations, will join Saatchi & Saatchi's board in January. He will be paid by Wells as a consultant until the end of '97.


Mr. Olshan is being brought on to strengthen Saatchi & Saatchi's relationship with key client Procter & Gamble Co. The move was made, said P&G agency executives, at P&G's recommendation.

"He's got a proven track record with Procter," Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide CEO Kevin Roberts said of Mr. Olshan. "[Cordiant CEO] Bob Seelert and I were looking for a guy who knew the U.S. advertising scene, and I wanted a guy clearly attuned to either Procter & Gamble or Toyota. They are the two key priorities for growth" (see related story on Page 65).

"I believe I have a clear understanding of what clients expect from an advertising agency," said Mr. Olshan. "I can help translate that knowledge into direction for the Saatchi service product."


There's some speculation among industry observers that the move doesn't bode well for Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide P&G Account Director Gary Moss. There have been rumors about the strength of P&G's relationship with Mr. Moss, who does not have any past experience within the package-goods company. P&G has denied those rumors in the past, and declined comment.

"To me it signals that there's not a strong rapport with the people [at Saatchi] running the Procter business," said one executive. "Procter has a hard time accepting outsiders. They have an organ reject system for outsiders. If you didn't cut your eyeteeth at some point at Procter, you're not in the club."

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