WPP Puts Media Merger Jigsaw Pieces in Place

11 December 2001

London-headquartered WPP Group is to form a single new global agency, Mediaedge:CIA, from the merged media businesses of recently acquired Tempus Group with its own specialist unit, The Media Edge.

In total, the combined shop will have 4,000 staff worldwide handling billings estimated at over $17 billion for a clientele that includes AT&T, DaimlerChrysler, Nike and Nescafé.

New York-based TME global chief executive Charles Courtier (40) is appointed chair of the new entity while his opposite number in London, CIA’s Mainardo de Nardis (41), becomes chief executive.

Separately, Beth Gordon (52), global chair of TME in New York, moves to the same role at GME, the media agency unit of WPP. But there is a significant silence about the position of Tempus chair and chief executive Chris Ingram – who in the past has made no secret of his reluctance to work with (let alone for) Sir Martin Sorrell. His place, if any, in the WPP firmament is as yet unresolved.

Enthuses Courtier of the new lineup: “This is a fantastic opportunity for both our companies. The combined talent and resources of the two companies will benefit our clients, open up greater opportunities for our people and deliver global strength which will be difficult to match. The two companies have the same vision and values and we are working towards the same objectives. Our pooled skills, resources and volume will mean that our ability to connect brands with consumers will be further strengthened.”

In the wake of so fulsome a eulogy, some observers expressed bewilderment that Sir Martin experienced even a moment’s doubt about going through with the merger.

News sources: New York Times; CampaignLive (UK)