Shake-up at Omnicom as directors quit seats

Omnicom Group is cutting the number of its directors from 17 to 11 in a bid to make the holding company more attractive to Wall Street.

Seven directors, who are also Omnicom executives, have decided either to not stand for re-election or to resign their board seats after the Omnicom annual shareholders meeting next month. The TBWA Worldwide president and chief executive, Jean-Marie Dru, the BBDO Worldwide vice-chairman and chief financial officer, Jim Cannon, the Omnicom executive vice-president, Michael Greenlees, the Diversified Agency Services chairman and chief executive, Thomas Harrison, and the DDB Worldwide vice-chairman, Bernard Brochand, have chosen not to stand for re-election when their current terms expire in May. The DDB Worldwide chairman, Keith Reinhard, and the BBDO Worldwide chairman and chief executive, Allen Rosenshine, whose terms do not expire until 2004, will resign from the board effective immediately following the annual shareholders' meeting. The move brings Omnicom's board structure in line with that of its Interpublic and WPP rivals, both of which are dominated by non-employee directors and financial experts. The Omnicom board will consist of nine non-employee directors, as well as Bruce Crawford, the board's chairman, and John Wren, Omnicom's president and chief executive.

The editor of Marketing Services Financial Intelligence, Bob Willott, said: "It follows the same route as IPG. It is now a board that is comprised of outside interests. It is responding to pressures from the investment community." Wren said: "With several management transitions in the past year as well as the forthcoming expiration of the terms of five of the seven directors, it was an appropriate time to consider our long-term objective of modifying our board composition."

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