CFO Quits Interpublic Amid Further Delays in Fiscals

29 June 2005

Robert Thompson, chief financial officer at Interpublic Group, is to leave the troubled advertising giant after only one year in the job.

His move to the departure lounge coincides with a bad news triple-whammy. Not only will IPG be unable to file any of its overdue financial results until September 30; but revenues for Q1 2005 are likely to be below those for the same period in 2004.

Moreover, the US Securities and Exchange Commission has rveealed it intends to widen its investigation into alleged accounting irregularities at the world's third-largest agency holding company.

Michael I Roth, IPG's chairman, and its third chief executive in two years, attempted to put a positive gloss on the news. "We can now move forward in getting the internal control issue behind us once and for all," he wrote in an email to the group's staff.

Meantime, staff and long suffering investors alike are wondering if Dame Fortune has yet pencilled a date in her calendar for the long-promised turnround to begin?

Quoth high profile Merrill Lynch media analyst, Lauren Rich Fine in a research note: "The announcements today clearly did not make us feel more positive about the IPG story."

But Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Ginocchio went straight to the heart of IPG's accounting chaos. "This is a company that has 1,400 reporting units that aren't linked," he said. "They have no central accounting system."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff