IPG chief flies in to hold key client talks

Interpublic Group’s (IPG) newly appointed chief executive David Roth is reported to be flying to the UK today (Wednesday) to try to stem any further client losses. Insiders suggest that Roth will be meeting key Lowe clients including Tesco and Interbrew.

This follows the recent arrival of Lowe’s new worldwide president Tony Wright, who is reported to have flown in soon after the appointment of Garry Lace as chief executive. One insider says that Wright described the agency as a “patient in intensive care”.

Roth’s arrival also coincides with the departure of the agency’s managing director Mark Cadman (Agencies, page 11). This week the agency lost its &£6m Nestlé Rowntree ad account, including Aero and Double Cream, which was consolidated into J Walter Thompson.

It is also thought that Roth will present his “new vision” to the agency, following a spate of high-level losses at the network. Last year, IPG’s Initiative lost the &£680m Unilever pan-European media business to the WPP Group’s Mindshare; and Universal McCann lost out in Nestlé $1.5bn (&£797m) media consolidation into Zenith Optimedia and Group M. Lowe suffered a huge wrench when HSBC consolidated its entire &£350m business into WPP Group (MW May 13, 2004).

Roth, who was named the chairman of IPG in July last year, took over the chief executive role earlier this year from David Bell, who moved on to be co-chairman. A lawyer by training and the former head of the Mony Group, Roth is expected to concentrate on engineering IPG’s financial turnaround. He is expected to arrive in the UK along with his “treasury group” team.

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