Lowe acts to shore up Stella business

Lowe London is taking action to lock in its showpiece Stella Artois account in the wake of Garry Lace's suspension as the agency's chief executive.

Lowe is talking to Mike Smith, the former head of client services and a key figure on the Stella business, about a possible return.

Lace is understood to have had a less than happy relationship with Smith.

Smith's departure last September is said to have weakened Lowe's relationship with Stella.

Lace has been told by Steve Gatfield, Lowe Worldwide's chief executive, not to report for work pending the outcome of an investigation into issues said to have arisen during his 13 months in charge.

These include contact with Sir Frank Lowe and if the pair discussed launching an agency with Tesco as a client.

In Lace's absence, Lowe will be run by its managing director, Chris Hunton, with help from Tony Wright, the Lowe Worldwide chairman, on international assignments.

- News, page 4

- Opinion, page 21.

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