Publicis lays out details of D'Arcy break-up

LONDON - The D'Arcy advertising network is to be dissolved after the takeover of Bcom3 by Publicis Groupe, with the US operations of D'Arcy to be integrated into Publicis USA.

As Publicis Groupe announced its plans for D'Arcy, which has 6,000 staff based in 72 countries, it said it will be focusing on developing its three global agency networks: Saatchi & Saatchi; Publicis Worldwide; and Leo Burnett.

The break-up brings to an end an agency founded as D'Arcy Massius Benton & Bowles in St Louis in 1906 and will likely be best remembered for creating the famous red-cheeked Coca-Cola Santa in 1934.

The break-up sees a host of key staff change agencies and postions. Lee Garfinkel, president and chief creative officer at D'Arcy, will become worldwide creative director for Publicis Worldwide, and John Farrell, president and CEO of D'Arcy Worldwide, will become president and CEO of the Specialised Agencies and Marketing Services unit of Publicis Groupe.

Rick Bendel, the regional chairman for the UK and for the Nordic region, becomes chief operating officer for Publicis Worldwide. He will have responsibility, with chairman and CEO Maurice Levy, for Publicis Worldwide.

D'Arcy had been tipped for the scrapheap as soon as the $3bn (£1.9bn) deal to merge Publicis Groupe with Bcom3 was announced in March. The end comes as D'Arcy has lost key clients such as Mars and Pampers.

D'Arcy Detroit, home of one of its biggest clients General Motors, will be forming a partnership with Leo Burnett Worldwide to create an office that will be dedicated solely to servicing GM. The new agency organisation has not yet been named. Other US D'Arcy accounts and teams, most likely those working on Procter & Gamble brands, will be going to Saatchi & Saatchi.

The move is a real boost to Burnetts, which was about to see its relationship with GM end with the scrapping of the Oldsmobile in 2004.

Outside the US, each country situation will be reviewed separately. No redundancies have been announced at this stage.

Maurice Levy, president and CEO of Publicis Groupe, said: "Mergers always create issues that must be resolved in order to realise the full potential of the opportunities they promise. We intend to bring the full weight of our best management to resolve those issues rapidly, and on the model of the Saatchi & Saatchi integration through which not a single client was lost."

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