But it’s unlikely that he’ll be intimidated by the task ahead, John
Imagine Cardinal Richelieu hanging up his skullcap to be replaced by a
user-friendly Scrooge and you get an idea of the power shift about to
happen at Bates Europe.
For Richelieu read Michael Geraghty, the network’s chief operating
officer and longtime ‘eminence grise’ to Michael Bungey, the Bates
Worldwide chairman due to retire at the end of the year.
For Scrooge read Stanley Bendelac, the chairman of Madrid’s Delvico
Bates, whose popularity among Bates senior managers conceals a
parsimonious streak about money and who was last week named as
Geraghty’s successor (Campaign, 22 November).
It will be a difficult, if not impossible, role to fill. Geraghty, an
Irish accountant brought in by Eric Garrott to clean up the mess left
when he bought the then Dorland Advertising from the asset stripper,
John Bentley, in 1971, enjoys probably the highest power and lowest
profile of any network boss.
He’s been called Bungey’s extra brain and his hatchet man. ‘He’s the
hardest bastard you could ever meet and he’s brilliant,’ a former Bates
senior manager declares.
Not that Bendelac, one of Bungey’s trusted ‘inner circle’, is likely to
be intimidated following such an act. His astute financial management,
good contacts and an instinct for picking the right people has enabled
Delvico Bates to stand with Dorlands and Hamburg’s Scholz and Friends as
the jewels in Bates Europe’s crown.
While Jean de Yturbe, the Bates Europe chairman, glad-hands clients,
Bendelac’s more prosaic task will be -in the words of one ex-Bates
executive -‘to move between country managers with a big sack to stuff
the money in’.
In his favour is the fact that Geraghty has bequeathed him a network
carefully pruned of its managerial dead wood and in good financial
shape, even though British American Tobacco rather than Mars now
provides most of the glue holding it together.
And therein lies its weakness: the New York agency consistently fails to
deliver US multinational advertisers into the European network. That’s
something even Bendelac can’t do much about.