:- Jean de Yturbe, the Bates Europe chairman, was this week taking legal advice over what he branded the "appalling and disgraceful" behaviour of Joanna Baldwin in changing her mind about taking charge of the network's new business operation and opting to stay at Publicis.
He is furious at the eleventh-hour decision by the head of international business at the Publicis agency in London to withdraw. "People who conduct themselves in this way should be banned from our business," he fumed.
Maurice Levy, the Publicis chairman, trumped Bates' attempt to lure Baldwin by promoting her to vice-president in charge of international new business development.
She will divide her time between London and Publicis headquarters in Paris where she will report directly to Levy and have a seat on the network's international board.
But Baldwin, who is believed to have been offered a significant pay rise, enraged de Yturbe when she told him she no longer wanted the Bates Europe job, less than a month after agreeing to take it (Campaign, 24 April).
"It's unacceptable for someone at that level to commit themselves to a new job, sign a contract, begin the search for an assistant - and even order a new car - before leaving me in the middle of nowhere," de Yturbe said. "I didn't expect for a moment that she would do this."
Levy is said to have been "livid" at the news of Baldwin's resignation after 14 years and to have put pressure on Michael Conroy, the Publicis UK group chairman, to persuade her to stay.
Baldwin cited last month's settlement safeguarding the future ownership of Publicis - which allows senior managers to become shareholders - and the acquisition of the US hotshop Hal Riney & Partners, as the reasons for her decision to stay.
"This is a big statement by Maurice about his international intent," she said. "Publicis is really accelerating and it didn't take me long to make up my mind when I got the counter offer."
Baldwin said of her conversation with de Yturbe: "It's not something I enjoyed". She declined to comment on the extent of her salary rise, saying only: "I'm very happy with what I'm being paid."