WPP and Bcom3 are involved in a tug-of-war over Luca Lindner, the
Italian chief executive of WPP's fledgling agency network, Red Cell, who
has resigned to join Bcom3's D'Arcy network.
Lindner has been offered the post of president and chief executive of
D'Arcy's Europe, Middle East and Africa operations - a position that has
been vacant since Johan Hofstra left the agency in 1999. But sources at
WPP suggest that the appointment is not finalised as the two sides
debate a web of legal and other issues. Sources also suggest that Red
Cell is close to making an acquisition and that Lindner's resignation
has come at a delicate stage in these negotiations.
John Farrell, D'Arcy's president and chief executive, said: "An offer
has been made and it has been accepted. I'm pleased to get someone of
Luca's calibre." Lindner and Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP's group chief
executive, both declined to comment.
D'Arcy has recently overhauled its senior management line-up as it
attempts to earn a place among the world's top-tier agencies. Farrell
heads a new management structure that includes the president and chief
branding officer, Susan Gianinno, and the former Lowe chairman and chief
creative officer, Lee Garfinkel, who joined D'Arcy in August as
president and chief creative officer.
Lindner started work in the ad industry in 1983 for Lowe Milan. He
joined TBWA-Rome in 1985, rising to international client services
director for TBWA-Milan in 1990. He left TBWA to found Transatlantic,
with TBWA as a minority shareholder, in 1990. He was Conquest's Italy
manager from 1994 to 97, rising to chief executive in 1998.