Between the lines: MG OMD needs direction

As the man in charge of two media brands with sterling heritages but not enough current pizzazz, Nick Manning has a tough job on his hands.

This week's departure of the maverick Mark Palmer might mean Manning has less conflict to deal with, but it also leaves the management across both companies looking rather thin on exciting "star" talent.

Manning Gottlieb is a brand name with an enviable historical reputation that has waned since its founders moved on and up. The same could be said of OMD now that the old BMP media team that launched the agency in the 90s has stepped away. While Omnicom has generally done a good job of maintaining the entrepreneurial momentum of its brands (see story, right), the UK media agencies illustrate what happens when the passion of the founders is replaced by a less-impressive next generation.

This week's OMD restructure is only a small step towards putting the Omnicom media assets back on track. As this week's Nielsen tables show (page 1), OMD and Manning Gottlieb OMD languish outside the top five. Yet combined - as Starcom Motive and Starcom Mediavest now are - they would occupy the number-one slot. The company group structure is still too incoherent; a more distinctive unification is surely the next step.