Interpublic Poised for Sweeping Management Changes

27 February 2003

Insiders at Interpublic Group – the world’s second largest agency holding company – have whispered to the press that Thursday's scheduled board meeting in Manhattan will dump its formal agenda to allow an open discussion on “significant demotions and reassignments” within the group’s top executive echelons.

In particular, say the moles, the seven-strong IPG board will review the future of chairman/ceo John J Dooner Junior, occupant of that hotseat since 2001.

Also in the firing line [not necessarily literally] are vice chairman David Bell, chief financial officer/evp Sean F Orr, and the chairman/ceo of IPG’s largest operating unit McCann-Erickson World Group, James R Heekin.

The multiloquous insiders are predicting that Bell (the former ceo of True North, acquired by IPG in June 2001) will supplant Dooner as IPG chairman or chief executive – possibly both.

Were this to happen, a game of musical chairs could ensue with Dooner stepping down to resume his old job at McCann-Erickson, replacing Heekin. Failing which he may be invited to ‘retire’.

More tomorrow!

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