Y&R Centralizes US Operations to Focus on Bottom Line

30 July 2004

WPP Group's Young & Rubicam Advertising is to tranform its regional structure into a single national entity, although all local operations will continue to operate, maintaining the agency's trans-America presence.

The philosophy underlying the revamp is that a shared bottom line will stimulate cooperation among the disparate offices, at the same time discouraging inter-office wrangling and internal competition.

Says Ann Fudge, an alumna of Kraft Foods and now Y&R chairman/ceo: "Having worked on the business side, I know you have to push creative ideas beyond the television set." She is well aware that the more streetwise clients expect their agencies to reflect the accelerating changes in today's media landscape.

Early days yet to see how the revamp will work on the ground. But one immediate consequence in the flagship New York office is the sideways shunting of New York chief executive and global creative director Michael Patti to the post of vice chairman -- a move that may impress his contacts at PepsiCo, and at the same time please other Y&R clients and colleagues with whom he is said to have clashed.

Fudge also plans to create the Catalyst Team -- a commando quintet of senior Y&R executives who will blitz clients with business ideas that go well beyond the traditional 30-second TV commercial -- offering savvier clients tomorrow's thinking today.

The new structure is presently confined to the USA, although there is little doubt Y&R offices elsewhere on the globe will be watching the development with interest. As may WPP's other networks.

And their rivals.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff