Three O&M account directors given key role with top clients

Eddie Bowman, Ogilvy and Mather’s head of account management, has promoted three senior account directors to head key accounts including Bupa, Kimberly-Clark and the Ford Dealers Advertising Association.

Eddie Bowman, Ogilvy and Mather’s head of account management, has

promoted three senior account directors to head key accounts including

Bupa, Kimberly-Clark and the Ford Dealers Advertising Association.



Cheryl Giovannoni, Jeanne Nokes and Dan Davies will each take charge of

a group of the agency’s accounts.



Giovannoni’s portfolio will include Bupa and Ryvita, both of which were

handled directly by Bowman. Nokes replaces Don Blashford, who is moving

to O&M in the US to work on Kimberly-Clark. Davies replaces David

Magliano on Ford Dealers. He will also head the Barnardo’s business.

Magliano will take on ’as yet unspecified projects’, Bowman said.



Bowman said: ’Cheryl, Jeanne and Dan are leaders, not co-ordinators, of

their businesses.’



Giovannoni joined O&M in 1993 after three years as an account director

at O&M in Johannesburg.



Nokes started in the business at Doyle Dane Bernbach and had spells at

J. Walter Thompson and McCann-Erickson in New York. In 1990 she moved to

McCanns London and, in 1994, joined O&M as a management supervisor on

Unilever Detergents and Foods.



Davies joined O&M in 1994 from Lowe Howard-Spink where he had spent two

years as an account director.

..HL.-

CAM # 02:05:97

INTERVIEW/MICHAEL BUNGEY: Bates captain plots a fresh course for

his agency - Michael Bungey is keen to guard his newly-liberated empire,

John Tylee reports

..BL.-

By JOHN TYLEE

..XP.-<

Page_14

Photographs (omitted)



Cast in the role of poor relations for more than a decade, Bates’s

network managers have begun talking like Cinderellas suddenly handed

tickets for the ball.



Last week’s announcement that the group is being set free by its

Cordiant parent to go its own way has released a flood of pent-up

frustration.



Takeover target or not, its staffers are tired of toiling profitably but

without adequate recognition in the shadow of Bates’s sexier Saatchi and

Saatchi ’sister’. For years, Bates executives have grumbled privately

not only about the lack of support from their Saatchi group masters, but

what they regarded as attempts to undermine them by the now ousted

Maurice Saatchi in trying to plunder its business for the main network.

There was anger that all attempts to build a profile were scuppered when

significant wins seemed to be presented as a Saatchi or a Cordiant

triumph.



Their sense of grievance and alienation has been exacerbated by their

belief that Bates’s broad base of talent surpasses Saatchis’ patchy

worldwide creative excellence although it has never been equally lauded.

Nor, they believe, has its extraordinary resilience.



’Bates has always been Cordiant’s hidden asset because its profile has

always been second to that of Saatchis,’ Michael Bungey, the Bates

worldwide chairman, says. ’Most agency networks would have buckled if

they’d lost the kind of business we did when Maurice Saatchi departed.

It’s a testament to our operators and our client relationships that we

came through it.’



One senior Bates manager cites last year’s Cannes festival as the best

encapsulation of the network’s predicament. ’We had more shortlisted

print and TV work than anyone else,’ she explains. ’Other networks can

only showcase their New York agency. We can present outstanding work by

Bates shops from Buenos Aires to Sydney. Collectively they give us

enormous creative firepower.’



But therein lay the rub. Saatchis’ status as top dog has usually

prevailed whenever the matter of account conflict has arisen. Although

Bates has 40 clients which it handles in five or more countries, they

could rarely be transferred to the global stage because of clashes with

Saatchis business either locally or internationally.



’You can’t imagine how frustrating it’s been presenting groovy local

work to clients but having to deny them the opportunity of running it

everywhere,’ a Bates manager declares.



The comments reflect the combination of euphoria and bitterness felt by

Bates executives. ’We haven’t even been able to move an agency out of

one office and into another without Cordiant’s approval,’ a Bates source

complains.



’We’ve missed out on good agency acquisitions because Cordiant messed

around so much.’



That’s one problem less for Bungey, free to plot the course for a group

no longer held captive by an arrangement in which a holding company has

had little to contribute to subsidiary operations constrained by each

other.



What remains to be seen is whether he can bring cohesion and credibility

to an operation that has been described more as an alliance of local

fiefdoms than a true network but which, nevertheless, faces stiff

competition in a consolidating global market. ’The regions can’t be

allowed to go their own way,’ a Bungey aide insists.



Equally plain is that Bungey will have a tough task creating synergy

between a collection of strong and independent-minded operations from

Scholz and Friends in Hamburg to George Patterson Bates in Sydney, as

well as the US-based Rowland Worldwide PR consultancy and the National

Research Group which will be under the Bates umbrella.



In Bungey’s favour is the fact that he can build from a solid financial

base. Despite the calamitous loss of pounds 270 million of global Mars

business in 1995, Bates turned in a trading profit of pounds 24.5

million last year, pounds 1 million more than the Saatchi network.



’Bates has done a very good job of rebuilding revenue after Mars,’ a

former Saatchi group manager comments. ’But it seems to have happened

through growth from existing client budgets rather than big business

gains.’



Certainly, Bates has yet to come fully to terms to life without

Mars.



For more than 40 years the confectionery and petfood multinational was

the network’s glue. British American Tobacco is no real substitute and

the size of its future spend is open to question as tobacco advertisers

across the world face tougher controls.



’I doubt that more than two or three global clients a year put their

business up for pitch,’ Bungey admits. ’When they move it’s usually

because they’re consolidating. I’d love to accelerate the growth of our

global business - it’s going to be a long-term job.’



How quickly such ambitions can be realised may depend how soon Bates’s

New York office - perpetually problematic despite the five years of

attention lavished on it by Bungey - can be turned into an effective

locomotive for the group.



Just as the Saatchi New York operation suffers from the conservative

legacy left by the Garland-Compton agency from which it sprang in 1982,

so the Bates office too has been a victim of its history.



Culture clashes arising from the merger of Ted Bates with Backer and

Spielvogel ten years ago, changes in its managerial front line, as well

as damaging account losses, have hampered efforts to build a consistent

profile.



Some industry observers believe its best way forward will be to exploit

the extra flexibility resulting from demerger and freshen its management

via acquisition. Bungey promises significant new hirings in New York and

doesn’t rule out buying if necessary. ’The New York agency is strong but

I want it stronger,’ he says. ’It doesn’t have sufficient critical

mass.’



A more immediate priority for Bungey may be to reassure the 5,200 staff

who cannot benefit from potentially enriching stock option schemes amid

inevitable takeover speculation between now and when Bates is floated

towards the end of the year.



While Saatchis’ unique culture makes it a less attractive bedfellow,

Bates has been singled out as an acquisition target. Bob Seelert,

Cordiant’s chief executive, however, has insisted that Bates and

Saatchis are ’fully capable of being robust, standalone operations’.

Bungey is contemptuous of such speculation, claiming it will make the

group more determined than ever to prove itself to shareholders.



’Takeover talk is cheap,’ he says. ’But there’s a big difference between

expressing an interest and doing something about it. The speculation is

being fanned by our competitors in an attempt to destabilise us. But

we’re used to it.’



Nevertheless, Grey is making little secret of its interest in Bates

which would not only bolster its presence in South East Asia - ’where we

struggle’- but throw up few client conflicts. True North too has pledged

to satisfy investors with an acquisition although WPP is reluctant to

toss its hat in the ring at present. ’We’ll watch events,’ a WPP source

says. ’At the end of the day it’s a question of price and Bates is too

highly valued.’



A similar view is held by Richard Humphreys, the former president and

joint chief executive of Saatchi and Saatchi Worldwide. Two years ago,

along with the South Korean millionaire W. Y. Choi, his then partner in

NW Ayer, Humphreys mounted an unsuccessful bid for Bates.



In a proposal not unlike the current plan, Humphreys suggested acquiring

Bates along with a 50 per cent stake in Zenith Media. Today Humphreys

has interests in software and publishing ventures and is an investor in

Channel 11, the internet TV service. But he has told friends he would

welcome the chance to return to advertising.



After a week of partying, Bates managers worldwide are sobering up to a

new dawn. Bungey says: ’Liberation is all very well but with it comes

responsibility. If we get it wrong we’ve no longer got anybody to blame

but ourselves.’