Fred Kuys, the chief executive and founding partner of Publicis’s
below-the-line spin-off, Publicis Dialog, has suddenly left the agency
with no job to go to.
The official reason behind Kuys’s departure is a difference of opinion
with the Publicis group chairman, Rick Bendel, over the direction of the
operation, although it is understood that there are also personal
reasons involved. Both sides are considering their legal positions.
Bendel commented: ’Our strategy behind setting up Dialog was to provide
group clients with resources in specific areas.
Kuys found the interdependent relationship difficult, wanting to focus
on an individual sell rather than a group sell.’
After a series of new business wins, culminating in the giant Renault
account, which Dialog scooped from WWAV Rapp Collins last month
(Campaign, 5 February), a freeze was put on new business to service
’Kuys was very focused on new business, and when we decided to button
down and spend 12 months concentrating on our existing clients, he found
it hard to accept,’ Bendel added.
Of the four founding directors, only one now remains: George Boyter, a
former creative director responsible for Renault at WWAV Rapp Collins
who is credited with playing an instrumental role in bringing the
Renault business to Publicis Dialog.
Another, Chris Cunnane, resigned last week to go to Jones Mason Barton
Antenen as its database director. He cited ’creative differences’ with
Kuys as a reason for leaving.
A successor to Kuys is being sought and Bendel will caretake the role
until an appointment is made.
He said: ’There is a strong team in place at the moment in George, Diane
(Canady, the managing director) and Spencer (McHugh, planning
Renault is the agency’s biggest client by far, but it also handles
Scottish Hydro-Electric, Silverlink Metro, Lancome and Manpower.
The Manpower business was awarded to the Publicis group in October after
Publicis pitched jointly with Dialog.