Marco Benatti hits CIA with threat to quit

Speculation is mounting that one of CIA Medianetwork’s key executives, Marco Benatti, has given notice to quit at the end of his three-year contract which runs out in December.

Benatti, founder and chairman of CIA Medianetwork in Italy and a former CIA vice-chairman, clashed with Tempus Group chairman Chris Ingram 18 months ago when he sold his 14.6 per cent stake in the group to Martin Sorrell’s WPP (MW June 5 1997). Tempus is the publicly quoted holding company of CIA.

Italy is a crucial market to CIA and represents a significant proportion of Tempus billings. According to stockbrokers Panmure Gordon, the Italian office brought in about 272m of the group’s total billings of 838m for the first half of last year.

The company denies Benatti is leaving, but his office refuses to deny he has tendered his resignation. Ingram admits conversations have “ebbed and flowed” about the renewal of Benatti’s contract and that “nothing had been resolved”. But he denies Benatti is leaving.

The news follows the defection of Giulio Malegori, director of the CIA Medianetwork company Blumedia, to MindShare. CIA is looking for two board-level executives to manage accounts across Europe.

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