Between the Lines: Why Mehra is the main man

It seems the regular bad news coming out of the Lowe network is self-perpetuating. Now Lowe's London-based Unilever global account baron and planning chief, Asit Mehra, is upping sticks for Omnicom (page 3).

A cursory glance down Lowe's much-reduced client list shows how important Unilever's continued faith is to the future of the network. It can ill-afford to lose the likes of Mehra.

Omnicom's decision to hire Mehra is a good move on two levels: it weakens IPG's grip on the account while strengthening its own. Indeed, WPP is also said to have recently attempted to improve its Unilever credentials by chasing Mehra. That he will report directly to Omnicom's chief executive, John Wren, shows how determined the holding company was to get its man.

It also shows Omnicom is looking at Unilever for potential growth across all its business. Mehra is expected to be based at DDB - he is said to have close ties with Unilever's food business - but his brief spans Omnicom's properties.