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International: IPG conflict causes Reckitt Benckiser, McCann split

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International: IPG conflict causes Reckitt Benckiser, McCann split

Reckitt Benckiser and McCann-Erickson Worldwide have mutually agreed to end their relationship as a result of client conflict within the Interpublic Group of Cos., McCann's parent company.

McCann's handling of the $300 million Reckitt Benckiser account-including fabric care, surface care, home care and health/personal care categories-was significantly complicated by IPG's acquisition earlier this year of True North's FCB Worldwide which handles the global business for SC Johnson.

"Over the last few weeks we have been discussing how best to resolve this," says Elio Leoni-Sceti, executive VP, category development, Reckitt Benckiser, "and regretfully, McCann-Erickson and ourselves have jointly agreed to part company."

Jim Heekin, chairman and CEO of McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, says: "The decision to part with Reckitt Benckiser is a very difficult one that, unfortunately, is necessary because of highly unique business circumstances related to our parent Interpublic's strategic expansion."

Following its re-appointment in June 2000, McCann set up a special unit in London, close to Reckitt Benckiser's headquarters, to service the then newly merged household giant's global business, coordinating the work of 22 agency offices.

It is unclear what the split will mean for the account execs and strategic planners who joined the office under the leadership of McCann Exec VP-Director of Worldwide Accounts Gunnar Wilmot.


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