Interpublic Group dismantles The Partnership network

LONDON - Interpublic Group has killed off The Partnership, mooted as its third network grouping, in favour of a new global alliance between Draft Worldwide, its below-the-line specialist, and Lowe.

The demise of The Partnership acknowledges its deep unpopularity among senior managers at several Interpublic operating companies.

Now the group has been reduced to a collaboration between Lowe and Draft. The umbrella organisation, to be called Lowe+Draft, will allow both networks to retain their separate identities. The aim is to boost cooperation between them, particularly on new business initiatives.

The Lowe+Draft operation will be coordinated by Steve Harty, the former head of the Omnicom-owned New York agency Merkley Newman Harty, who joined Interpublic in January to set up a brand communications consultancy called Plus.

John Dooner, then Interpublic's chief executive, set up The Partnership two years ago in an effort to align the group's advertising, marketing services, media and PR operations into a more streamlined operation.

As well as Lowe and Draft, The Partnership included Initiative Media and some US standalone agencies including Deutsch, Dailey & Associates and Mullen/LHC.

But the concept was greeted with little enthusiasm and ill feeling between Dooner and key executives from the agencies involved is said to have accelerated its early demise.

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