CAMPAIGN INTERACTIVE: PROFILE JOE EAZOR - Cordiant chooses a client to bring unity to its virtual affairs/Management consultant to head of strategy at an IT giant. Mairi Clark meets Cordiant’s new-media chief

Joe Eazor, Cordiant’s new chief executive of its interactive division, is a rare breed. You would expect the man assigned to building a global interactive network to have a hot curriculum vitae, but you might also expect it to list more than two companies.

Joe Eazor, Cordiant’s new chief executive of its interactive

division, is a rare breed. You would expect the man assigned to building

a global interactive network to have a hot curriculum vitae, but you

might also expect it to list more than two companies.



Not so for 37-year-old Eazor. After completing graduate school, he

joined the consultancy firm, AT Kearney, as a management consultant and

eventually rose to become vice-president. In 1990, Eazor’s expertise as

a strategist was recognised by the US IT systems integration giant,

Electronic Data Systems, which appointed him as head of corporate

strategy. Nine years on, he’s moved to Cordiant.



So why move into an agency after so long on the client side?



’The thing that really attracted me to Bates and to Cordiant is that as

a former client you can really see that it has an advantage as an

international network,’ he says. ’In a hugely competitive market it has

a very significant knowledge relating to the consumer.’



Ian Smith, president of international at Bates Worldwide and Cordiant,

admits that Eazor’s strategic background was a major factor in his

appointment.



But strategy alone, he says, will not be the basis of the new

network.



Eazor has a sizeable task ahead of him. While to some, Bates’s

interactive offering might appear to be fairly well formed, this isn’t

the case according to Smith. He says that what Bates had in place just

wasn’t working effectively.



’Cordiant’s international interactive network doesn’t pull together as

much as we’d like it to and we really need to unify all the interactive

marketing across the offices. We needed someone who could help us create

a unique point of business and Joe offered that. I’d known Joe as a

client and he knows what he’s doing. He completely understands the

business. He also has the ability to bridge the gap between the creative

and implementation sides.’



Eazor’s as yet unnamed interactive division will bring together

Cordiant’s ten interactive divisions under a single global brand. The

formation will see Cordiant follow on the heels of rival networks,

Ammirati Puris Lintas and Ogilvy & Mather, which already have their own

digital networks in place, in APL Digital and Ogilvy Interactive.



Eazor is reluctant to reveal much about how he will run the company and

understandably so as, at the time we spoke, he had yet to move into his

new office at Bates’ New York headquarters. What he will say is that he

sees all elements of interactive marketing working alongside each

other.



’My strategic responsibility at EDS showed me the problems that clients

have,’ he says. ’A lot of clients want to use the internet but don’t

know how to target or how to choose their consumers.’



While he is not ruling out Bates making a move into website production,

he says that side of the business has to meet the consultancy side. A

merger of skills is necessary.



’We need to marry both the strategic and creative side. Obviously it

will pay as a consultancy business and we would enter into projects with

our clients but, as a company, we still have a bit of work to do on our

business model.’



The consolidation into a global agency network will focus attention on

each division and its purpose in the network. Naturally, certain offices

will have certain strengths. Identifying these, says Eazor, will help

the new company to learn and grow as a whole.



’We want to replicate each office’s success and learn from them. Our

focus will be bringing the network’s divisions together and offering a

broader range of capabilities.’



The UK operation, Bates Interactive, will be one of the hubs in the new

network along with 141 Interactive in New York and Bates’ offices in

Singapore and Sydney. In London, Bates Interactive’s managing director,

Mike Crossman, is confident that the formation of the new network has

come at the right time.



’The problem most clients have is that the expectation of juggling

several offices puts them off. That’s why they don’t embrace it, because

they don’t get the service. We can change that. We have an opportunity

to work as a global agency for each market, which is the real issue. The

company is going to be pulled towards working in a more unified way

across a global market. Consolidating it into an international network

is an obvious evolution and one that everyone has been pushing for,’ he

says.



Both Eazor and Crossman hope that the establishment of the network will

effect a change in culture so that clients will be just as happy to work

globally on interactive projects as they are on traditional advertising

campaigns.



Eazor hopes to partly achieve this by ensuring that Bates offers the

best talent available in all areas of interactive marketing, ranging

from creative and web production to media and strategic consultancy.



Eazor admits that no formal appointments have yet been made, but he

doesn’t rule out hiring staff from Bates’ offices around the world.

’Obviously, I have some names going around in my head. But until they

sign anything it’s just a dream.’



The Eazor file

1983 AT Kearney, consultant

1990 Electronic Data Systems, head of corporate strategy

1999 Cordiant Communications Group, chief executive of interactive

division



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