Green sparks Bates row

A furious row has broken out within Bates Dorland over plans to bring in direct marketing guru Graham Green to run its below-the-line companies as a beefed up integrated unit.

Management at Bates’ below-the-line agency Bates Communications have threatened to resign over the company’s decision to bring in Green over their heads after the Cordiant-owned group bought his direct marketing consultancy Blue Skies.

The former Incepta boss will sit on the board of Bates Dorland with UK agency chairman Graham Hinton and chief executive John Stubbings.

One source comments: “Noses are so far out of joint you couldn’t see them with a pair of binoculars.”

The plan to consolidate the below-the-line agencies brings together its direct marketing, sales promotion and interactive subsidiaries – Bates Communications, 141 and Bates Interactive respectively – with a design arm. The merger is seen as a crucial development for Bates at a time when 40 per cent of its clients want an integrated business. Bates’ direct operation is thought to contribute about one-third of UK group income.

The name Blue Skies is likely to to be retained in the merged outfit’s brand, while the agency Bates Dorland will drop the Dorland’s name and become Bates UK.

The managing directors of Bates’ below-the-line companies will report to Green, who is expected to take take the title of chief executive.

He will report to Bates Worldwide chairman Michael Bungey.

It is understood management at Bates Communications thought the integration of below-the-line services would bring their company within Bates Worldwide’s global sales promotion network, 141 Worldwide, the umbrella brand for its below-the-line companies.

Bates Communications chairman Marcus Evans was tipped to take a position within 141 Worldwide.

In 1996, Green masterminded Incepta’s 40m merger with Citigate Communications. But he quit after a takeover bid for Lopex failed a year later and subsequently acquired Blue Skies in May 1998.

Safeway threat, page 10

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