Lowe Worldwide is culling 47 of its global offices in a dramatic move which halves the size of its network.
The new structure, which the chief executive, Stephen Gatfield, described as a micro-network, will focus on hub markets: the UK, US, France, Sweden, Brazil, China, India and Thailand.
"It's the scale we need to be effective for our client base," Gatfield told Campaign, adding that clients are no longer willing to pay to support a big global network infrastructure.
Lowe Worldwide will maintain 36 offices around the world, including seven in which it has a minority stake and ten it shares with other Interpublic-owned agencies. The remaining 19 offices are majority-owned by the group.
Lowe will also align itself more closely with its sister agencies Draft, Momentum, Initiative, Jack Morton and R/GA. Lowe will use the agencies for pitches and existing clients.
As part of the rationalisation, Lowe also plans to increase its investment in the global agency "hubs". This includes acquiring a controlling stake in its Chinese office and hiring new management. It will also increase investments and put new management into its Brazil and India offices.
Gatfield and the worldwide chairman, Tony Wright, outlined the plan during an IPG-hosted conference in New York on Monday.
The IPG chief executive, Michael Roth, who was also present, acknowledged that industry analysts had asked why IPG did not just scrap Lowe, and cited the creative heritage of the Lowe brand.
Gatfield told Campaign Lowe was not about to be broken up and dismissed speculation that the Lowe name would change.
- Opinion, page 23
LOWE'S HUB AGENCIES
UK; US; France; Sweden; Brazil; China; India; Thailand.