After GM loss, Interpublic creates post of media business CEO

MUMBAI: Interpublic Group of Cos. Inc., which just lost its media buying busines for General Motors Corp., is makings its best attempts to bounce back. The company has created a post of chairman and chief executive media business and has filled it up by roping in former MTV Networks executive Mark Rosenthal.



Apart from General Motors, Interpublic agencies have recently lost some other crucial accounts like Nestl? and Unilever. What is worriying the company most now is forecasts that other accounts held by Interpublic agencies, might follow General Motor's course. Rosenthal's appointment is being seen as a confidence building exercise among existing clients.



To be based out of New York, Rosenthal will oversee all of the company's worldwide media operations, including Initiative, MAGNA Global, Universal and a number of leading specialist media agencies, with capabilities that range from programming and content development to interactive, retail and media barter, states a media release issued by the company on yesterday.

Rosenthal will also work directly with Interpublic chairman and CEO Michael Roth to refine and implement a strategy that aligns all of the holding company's media assets and maximizes the benefits they - working together with other Interpublic assets in areas such as sports, entertainment and event marketing - deliver to clients.



Interpublic has played down the GM account loss saying the US account accounted for only 1 percent of Interpublic's 2004 revenue, as well as $5 million in profit. But according to reports, the company is gripped by financial and operational problems which have led it to restate earnings and delay its recent quarterly reports.

In a filing on 13 May with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Interpublic said it still had not completed the reports and did not know when they would be ready. This was the third time since March that the company had expressed its inability to file the reports.

Meanwhile, the fate of the 200 employees at GM Mediaworks, the company floated by Interpublic exclusively to deal with the GM media business, hangs in the balance. The theory that, Publicis-owned GM Planworks, which has now replaced Interpublic's GM Mediaworks as General Motors' media buying agency, might hire some of those 'out of work' is also gaining ground.

GM Planworks president Dennis Donlin has been quoted in media reports as saying that he would look inside the GM system, Publicis's own Starcom MediaVest and elsewhere for additional staff members while confirming that there will be an increase in body count.

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