Heekin comes out on top in McCann power struggle

McCann-Erickson’s European regional director Michael Sennott is returning to the US.

Sennott will be replaced by North American president Jim Heekin, who has been running the company’s New York office for four years. It is unclear what position Sennott will be returning to within the Interpublic-owned McCann group.

But the switch is seen by US sources as an indication that McCann-Erickson is setting changes in progress which will lead to the emergence of an eventual replacement for its chairman and chief executive officer John Dooner. He is a candidate who will eventually replace IPG president Phil Geier.

“This move puts Heekin in a powerful position if he can make a success of it,” says an informed source. “He has been a power player in New York and now he has the opportunity to do that in Europe. If it goes well that means he has had success in two-thirds of McCann’s world.”

It was rumoured earlier this year that McCann’s London chairman David Warden was in line to replace the London-based Sennott. He was certainly a candidate. But it is believed he has taken greater responsibility for the other McCann agencies in the UK as compensation for not getting the top European job.

After picking up global work for MasterCard International and Motorola earlier this year, McCann recently lost $150m (92m) of worldwide AT&T business (MW November 20) and last week missed the chance to handle the European launch of General Motors’ new Astra.

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