NEWS: JWT and O&M seek joint Kodak media chief

The WPP Group has edged a step closer to merging the media functions of its two international networks, J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy and Mather, by trawling for a chief to head Kodak’s global media account.

The WPP Group has edged a step closer to merging the media functions of

its two international networks, J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy and

Mather, by trawling for a chief to head Kodak’s global media account.



But sources at both agencies were playing down the move. They said the

Kodak media chief would not be a WPP appointment, but would be employed

jointly by O&M and JWT and based in Kodak’s New York headquarters.



The unprecedented move comes in the wake of O&M and JWT’s appointment to

handle the entire Kodak global account. A statement from Kodak said the

account would be handled by a ‘new entity formed from the combined

resources of its two worldwide consumer advertising agencies’.



Dominic Proctor, chief executive of JWT, and Mandy Pooler, managing

director of O&M’s media dependant, the Network, denied the agencies

planned to merge their media operations, but declined to comment in

detail on WPP’s future plans.



Martin Sorrell, the WPP chief executive, stated earlier this year that

he favoured a merger of the group’s media operations (Campaign, 15

March). A source close to JWT revealed that top-level talks have been

held on the possible configuration of a merged WPP media operation. ‘The

discussion centres on whether the operation would be just a buying club,

such as the Media Partnership, or include strategy.’



Under the Kodak appointment, JWT and O&M will divide media planning in

the UK, Ireland and Western Europe, with O&M handling all buying. O&M

will handle planning and buying in eastern Europe, while JWT will look

after planning and buying in the Middle East and Africa, except Dubai,

Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, which fall under O&M’s remit.



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