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Helped Create Ad Agency Holding Company in 1986

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NEW YORK ( -- Tom Watson, who was part of the team that created ad agency holding company Omnicom Group nearly 20 years ago and helped make it a giant in the field of integrated marketing, is retiring from his role as vice chairman at year's end.
Tom Watson is retiring as Omnicom vice chairman; his position will not be refilled.

Mr. Watson, 70, will continue as dean of Omnicom University, the education program for senior management, and act as a consultant to the company. His responsibilities as vice chairman will be absorbed by Omnicom executives, a company representative said.

Omnicom is the No. 1 advertising holding company.

End of daily involvement
His retirement marks the end of daily involvement in the company he helped create in 1986. Following Omnicom's formation, Mr. Watson moved from one of its agencies, BBDO Worldwide, to become president and chief operating officer of Diversified Agency Services Group, a then newly formed group for so-called below-the-line marketing agencies. He was a key figure in the group's accumulation of marketing services companies that now includes public relations firms Ketchum and Fleishman-Hillard and the direct-marketing agency Rapp Collins.

In a memo circulated to Omnicom employees, President-CEO John Wren praised Mr. Watson for the breadth of his career, making special mention of his contributions along the educational front.

"It is in his knowledge of organizational structure, his understanding of the relationship between employee motivation and corporate performance, and his commitment to executive training on behalf of BBDO, DAS, and Omnicom that Tom's activities have been extraordinarily helpful," Mr. Wren wrote.

Mr. Watson joined BBDO in 1966. He began his career at Abbott Laboratories in 1958.

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