IPG Dodges Depression, Back in the Black Bigtime

29 October 2008

NEW YORK: Lifting its finger to the current economic gloom pervading the western world, Interpublic Group moved back into the black with its best quarterly and year-to-date numbers for a very long time.

All major units performed strongly during the third quarter, reports chairman/ceo Michael Roth, with quarterly profits rising to $38.7 million (€31.02m; £24.82), compared with a year-ago net loss of $28.8m.

The first nine months of 2008 generated net income of $56.7m, up year-on-year from a net loss of $31.5m. IPG also reported third quarter revenue growth of 11.5% and organic revenue growth of 7.6%.

During a conference call with analysts, however, Roth encountered flak from the haruspices, miffed at the performance of IPG's Lowe Worldwide despite the network's emergence from the red after several years.

The moneymen were also displeased that Lowe currently lacks a hand at the tiller, Stephen Gatfield having stood down.

Countered Roth: "We're very pleased with the management of Lowe." He noted that it's the first time in years an "orderly transition" of management had taken place at the agency. 

He also confirmed that a search for a new ceo is in process. Former incumbent Gatfield remains evp-network operations for the group.

Data sourced from AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff