The WPP network remained the hot favourite to lure Christine Walker
into its fold in the wake of her surprise resignation this week.
The outgoing Zenith Media chief executive gave the clearest possible
indication that she was ready to face a tough new challenge when she
told Campaign: ’I’m in the mood to be pioneering, I want to prove I can
do it all again.’
Walker’s ’pioneering’ activities refer to her role in October 1988 when
she pulled together the media buying function of four different agencies
- Saatchi and Saatchi, KHBB, BSB Dorland and the media independent, Ray
Morgan and Partners, to form the UK’s first media buying giant, Zenith
Politics and internal rivalry between WPP’s agencies, Ogilvy and Mather
and J. Walter Thompson, would make the WPP job an even bigger
However, most observers believe that if it is to happen, Walker would be
the best person to unite the two agencies’ European media arms.
Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, who approached Walker last year,
declined to comment, while Walker herself attempted to deflect
speculation about a possible role, saying: ’You’re making an assumption
that there’s a job there.’
Walker is also understood to have been courted by Carat and CIA
It is thought she might also welcome the chance to work with Maurice
Saatchi again. In addition, Walker’s name has been linked with a string
of media owners, including BSkyB, Carlton and Time Warner.
Walker confirmed she had already been inundated with offers: ’I’ve had
some quite extraordinary people ringing up saying ’don’t do anything
until you’ve spoken to us’.’
Meanwhile, Zenith was this week concentrating on buttoning down clients
such as Sky and Kraft Jacobs Suchard, which were both accounts that
maintained very close relationships with Walker. Both clients indicated
that they were looking closely at their media arrangements this week.