Interpublic Loses $34m - and Chief Accounting Officer

23 March 2006

The travails of Interpublic Group, the world's third largest marketing services holding company, continue.

Not only did IPG post a net income loss of $34.2 million (€28.28m; £19.56m) in its 2005 fourth quarter, compared year-on-year with a profit of $125.3m, it also lost its financial controller and chief accounting officer Nicholas Cyprus.

IPG insists his departure was voluntary and chief financial officer Frank Mergenthaler delivered the usual eulogy.

"We want to thank Nick Cyprus for his contributions, as we addressed very challenging and complex issues and began to build the foundation for Interpublic to become a quality financial organisation from a reporting and control perspective."

The Q4 figures suggest that Mergenthaler and his team have an uphill journey ahead.

Operating income for the quarter was $57.6m, compared with $312.1m for the same period in 2004; while revenue was $1.9m, a decrease of 3.6% on the same period in 2004. However, for 2005 as a whole, IPG cut its net losses to $289.2m from $558.2m in 2004.

Says chairman/ceo Michael Roth: "There is no doubt that 2005 was a challenging year for our company. Our high costs were primarily associated with achieving key priorities of a turnaround, first fixing weak financial systems and closing the book on historical accounting issues."

However, Roth insists that he and his team have "made significant progress in positioning the company to move forward from a solid foundation".

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff