Bell and Dooner to lose places on board of Interpublic

NEW YORK - Two former Interpublic Group CEOs, John Dooner and David Bell, are to lose their places on the board of the company at its annual general meeting in November.

According to papers filed with the US financial regulator the Securities Exchange Commission, Dooner, who is currently chairman and CEO of McCann Erickson WorldGroup, and Bell, who now holds the title of Interpublic co-chairman, are not to be renominated for board membership.

The move will leave present chairman and CEO Michael Roth as the only Interpublic insider left on the board. It is unclear if Bell and Dooner will be replaced by outsiders or if the board will remain with only eight members.

SEC filings also revealed that the board was urging shareholders to vote against a proposal to sell off Interpublic, which has been introduced by the activist shareholder Charles Miller. This led to speculation that Lowe could be bought in a management buyout.

Interpublic shifted to a board comprised largely of external members in February 2002. At that time Bell, along with Frank Lowe, Jim Heekin and Brendan Ryan, all stepped down from the board. However, Bell returned.

Bell was CEO of Interpublic between February 2003 and January 2005, when he was succeeded by Roth, who has overseen the unenviable task of getting Interpublic's finances in order. Before Bell took over as CEO, Dooner held the role for three years.

In September, Interpublic finally revealed its figures for 2004, showing a loss of $558.2m. It also said that restating figures going back to 2000 would result in net earnings falling by more than half a billion dollars.

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