Cordiant in chief executive quest

Cordiant is now looking for a chief executive as a possible alternative to the vacant role of chairman, which it has been unable to fill since January.

Cordiant’s current chief executive and acting chairman Charlie Scott is expected to work in harness with the successful candidate, either as chief executive or chairman.

According to sources close to the company, the Bates Worldwide unit of Cordiant is keen to see its chief executive Michael Bungey installed as Cordiant chairman or chief executive.

It has also emerged that

Scott will be employed as a consultant to Cordiant on full pay for two years if his contract is terminated.

However, Cordiant investor relations director Tim Jackson insists: “We are looking for someone to complement Charlie Scott. It will not be Michael Bungey. He is already a board director. It will be an external appointment.”

Scott has declined to specify which role he would prefer to continue in, but says the chairman’s role will be strategic with a chief executive managing the group’s day-to-day activities.

The Cordiant annual general meeting was told this week that the group will make a loss in the first half of this year because of redundancy payments of 10m and loss of goodwill, written off after the sale of a US subsidiary.

Cordiant plans to shed 60 more jobs, bringing total redundancies to 470 since Maurice Saatchi’s departure last Christmas. Scott claims that the job cuts are a direct result of account losses following Maurice’s departure, including Mars, British Airways, and Dixons.

The City was relieved that the losses stem from exceptional items rather than current operations. “The margins are improving, which is good,” says Guy Lamming, media analyst at Goldman Sachs.

A Saatchi insider has confirmed that Saatchi & Saatchi in the US has held talks with Delta Airlines about its advertising account, at present with BBDO.

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