The consolidation race reached Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, as Publicis Groupe last September acquired the global agency network for about $2 billion. Two months later, Chairman-CEO North America Jennifer Laing and Vice-Chairman North America Tony Dalton left their positions and returned to London.
An eight-person managing partnership consisting of top Saatchi & Saatchi executives Julie Bauer, Keith Bunnell, Mike Burns, Tom Lom, Tim Love, Marie McNeely, Mike Popernik and Tod Seisser replaced the departing duo.
Separately, former Ammirati Puris Lintas' chief creative officer in London, Steve Rabosky, signed on as chief creative officer in Saatchi's Los Angeles office, while former international account planning consultant Clive Whitcher joined as director of planning there.
In the midst of all the high-level changes, the agency was able to keep most of its client roster intact. Those that did leave included Hewlett-Packard Co. (media), iMotors, Celebrity Cruises and Southeast Toyota Distributors.
Saatchi reports a net new business gain of about $160 million, reeling in clients such as Bausch & Lomb (eyewear), Glaxo SmithKline Beecham (vaccines), ZDEducation, ShoppingList.com, Guidant Corp., PaineWebber Global Prime Brokerage, Transitions Optical and additional Toyota brands.
The agency struck creative paydirt with its new and innovative "Skip a step" campaign for Cascade Complete, which compares the rinsing of dirty dishes in the sink to more drastic steps to skip in life-like work before retirement and courtship before marriage. A pro-bono campaign for Catholic Church Communications gave many viewers a lump in the throat while earning short-list status at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes.
Early this year, the agency's new managing partners under Worldwide CEO Kevin Roberts, plan to reveal their new operational strategy for Saatchi & Saatchi.
Last year's rating: 2.5