Saatchi book reveals Cordiant’s Mars error

Details of just how Cordiant chiefs made the catastrophic mistake of believing Mars would not take revenge for Maurice Saatchi’s ousting have emerged in Kevin Goldman’s new book on the affair, Conflicting Accounts.

Details of just how Cordiant chiefs made the catastrophic mistake

of believing Mars would not take revenge for Maurice Saatchi’s ousting

have emerged in Kevin Goldman’s new book on the affair, Conflicting

Accounts.



Under shareholder pressure in December 1994 to ditch Maurice, Cordiant -

then known as the Saatchi and Saatchi group - was confident the

confectionery giant would do no more than show its displeasure by

reassigning a few brands.



After dinner in a New York restaurant, Bill Muirhead, head of the

Saatchi group agencies in North America, who was later to defect to

Maurice, warned group board members that if Maurice was fired ’you will

lose Mars without question’.



But Michael Bungey, the Bates Worldwide chairman, disputed the claim and

assured the gathering that firing Maurice ’will be very good, a very

positive thing for Bates’.



He added: ’If Maurice is no longer in the company, Bates will do even

better. I don’t think you’ll lose Procter and Gamble and I don’t think

we’ll lose Mars.’



Bungey was backed by Frank Assumma, the then president of the Bates

agency in New York, who assured the directors that Mars’s ’punishment’

would be a limited one.



According to Goldman, Assumma said: ’Mars may be cruel, but they’re not

stupid. We’re too important to Mars.’



Book extract, p10.



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