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International: Interpublic agencies begin restructuring

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International: Interpublic agencies begin restructuring

In anticipation of the announcement that Interpublic Group of Cos.' plans to merge more than 75 of its agencies worldwide by the end of the year. Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide and McCann-Erickson Worldwide are in the process of uniting facilities in France and Russia, respectively.

In France, Lowe Lintas has merged its Paris-based namesake with sister shop Alice to form a new shop called Lowe Alice, creating a single corporate structure bringing together below-the-line activities of specialized agencies in fields ranging from corporate communications to direct marketing, interactive activities and sales promotion.

As part of a union that brings together more than $40 million in gross income, several top executives are losing their jobs. The Paris-based shops would not comment on whether expected job cuts would be part of the 3,500 employees worldwide Interpublic said would be laid off this year.

Interpublic announced the layoffs in New York after it reported a quarterly net loss and lowered its full-year earnings target. Job cuts are in addition to the 2,200 people Interpublic said it cut in the first half of this year; the combined cuts represent 10% of its worldwide staff.

There was confirmation, however, of several high-ranking appointments: Nicolas Monnier and Dominique Imbault, formerly co-presidents of Alice, will serve as co-presidents of both Lowe Alice, Paris, and Lowe Lintas & Partners France, while Philippe Vincent, of Lowe Lintas & Partners, London, will serve as vice president for international accounts with Lowe Alice. Gregoire Delacourt, creative director at Lowe Lintas & Partners, Paris, will head this department at the new Lowe Alice.

Philippe Bernard, formerly president of Lowe Lintas & Partners France, will move to the presidency of Lowe Lintas Europe, replacing Tim Lindsay, recently promoted to preside over Lowe International.

Meanwhile, in Russia, the offices of McCann-Erickson Russia and Adventa-Lowe-Lintas are holding negotiations over a possible merger in Russia. Adventa and McCann's turnover last year were $62 million and $57 million, respectively.

Talks of a potential joint venture come only a few weeks since Peter Davies, who recently assumed the post of managing director of McCann's Moscow office, announced a 25% cut in the agency's staff as part of what the company called a "necessary restructuring." The move was described by an executive close to the situation as "the largest layoffs we've seen since the beginning of financial the crisis in 1998."

Both Mr. Davies and Dmitry Korobkov, president of ADV holding (comprising Adventa, Initiative Media and TMA/Draft), declined to offer details on the proposed joint venture. Agency sources, however, suggest that Adventa executives will manage the new agency, called Adwise.

In the U.K., Lowe Lintas and McCann-Erickson declined to comment on the Interpublic job cuts announcement. Officials at Banks Hoggins O'Shea/FCB, Initiative Media and Draft Worldwide did not return calls.

Also forestalling cuts, McCann's in Spain, where the Interpublic agency is the leading network, was believed to be preparing to lay off a minimum of 28 people, although sources suggested that number could reach 100. McCann has 28 companies in Spain and employs a total of 825 people.


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