THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 Best rumours

1. Rupert Howell's real reason for joining McCann-Erickson

Howell surprised the ad industry when he decided to close his consultancy, The Growth Organisation, before it even opened and instead join McCann. So it wasn't long before adland came up with a plausible theory to explain his change of heart. He'd bought such a massive estate (complete with helipad and stables) he was forced to ditch his plans to launch a consultancy and instead take the McCann shilling to pay his mortgage. Rupert, the Letters page awaits your response.

2. Who will run BMP?

This question kept the chat at adland lunches fuelled with theories. Early pundits were WPP's Jon Steel and Rainey Kelly's MT Rainey. Then there was the former Lowe high flyer Paul Hammersley and M&C Saatchi's Tim Duffy. Former TBWA New Yorker Carl Johnson was another popular theory, and the minute Tim Lindsay resigned from Lowe his name became inextricably linked with the job.

3. Mother and Boots

The relationship between Mother's Stef Calcraft and Boots' Anne Francke gave rise to two rumours. First off the bat was that Francke had agreed to give Mother a slice of Boots' massive ad budget before the pitch had even been called. This rumour died when Francke left, but was replaced with the much-repeated, yet false, tale that Mother had pulled off the Boots pitch.

4. Ben Langdon to run Cordiant

When Added Value made its bid for the beleaguered Cordiant, it proudly announced that it had a management team in place, should its bid succeed. The former Leo Burnett chief executive Richard Wheatley was named, but an anonymous chief executive was also mentioned. Step forward Mr Langdon, who was still gainfully employed by IPG at the time.

5. BLM is not for sale

Yep. Incredible but true. There are some gullible people out there spreading gossip that Messers Booth, Lockitt and Makin do not want to sell.

6. WPP hit by rumours of client difficulties on Ford

WPP's share price took a knock in May as mischievous traders took the departure of a senior executive from J. Walter Thompson's Detroit and Houston offices as a sign of difficulties with Ford, WPP's biggest client. But the departure of Mike O'Malley, who worked as number two on the account, seems not to have rocked the boat.

7. Steve Henry to start up with Ben Langdon

Steve Henry's commitment to HHCL came under the repeated scrutiny of the rumour mill. One of the most widely disseminated pieces of gossip was that he and Langdon would do a start-up. Henry is also said to have been close to joining Grey but was persuaded to remain with HHCL so as not to scupper its deal with WPP.

8. Interpublic to buy DLKW and merge with FCB

Senior FCB management is said to have approached Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners with fistfuls of cash. The idea was to replace its London management with DLKW. However, the offer is said to have been too small and DLKW still too enthusiastic to sell out.

9. Bartle Bogle Hegarty's management fallout

John O'Keeffe, Gwyn Jones and Jim Carroll to leave Bartle Bogle Hegarty and be parachuted in as the management of XXXX. This rumour did the rounds repeatedly and any agency perceived to be in trouble was linked with their names.

10. WCRS deliberately underperforming

This conspiracy theory must have been born in the most twisted of minds. WCRS didn't have such a great 2003. It missed out on the 3 pitch, which had been weighted in its favour, and refused to repitch for Camelot. The theory is that Wight & Co were looking to devalue the business so they could engineer a less costly management buyout from its Havas parent. Hhhhmmmm.


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