Rear Admiral Takes Helm for O&M’s Anti-Drugs Rebid

13 November 2001

Robert Ravitz, a Norwalk, Connecticut-moored consultant and retired US Navy rear admiral, is at the helm of Ogilvy & Mather New York’s attempt to regain the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy's $150 million antidrug advertising account.

O&M, the former incumbent on the business, was fired by the ONDCP earlier this year because of alleged overcharging [WAMN: 24-Aug-01]. However, it decided to repitch for the business and attended a bidders’ conference in Washington last Thursday [WAMN: 09-Nov-01].

The more eagle-eyed of conference attendees noted the nautical presence of Admiral Ravitz alongside Ogilvy senior partner and management supervisor David McConnaughey – an astute pairing say those in the know, given that the Department of Navy is now to oversee the ONDCP business and will become the contractual boss of whichever agency secures the account.

Ravitz reportedly has credibility within the Navy. “When [Ogilvy] got in trouble, at some point they brought him in,” said a source, explaining that the admiral helped the shop set up a billing system to meet government standards prior to its firing. “He can help them understand how to work the contract.”

O&M has always maintained it was lack of understanding of the government’s labyrinthine billing procedures that led to the allegations of overcharging.

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