Despite the posting of Q3 results way ahead of the same period last year, Interpublic Group is still flailing amid serious accounting problems at its McCann-Erickson Worldwide Europe unit.

On Tuesday IPG released its third quarter results to September 30, reporting net income of $7.5 million (€7.49m; £4.75m) against a net year-on-year loss of $481.1m. However, Q3 revenues slid 7.4% to $1.5 billion from $1.62 billion in 2001.

The posting coincided with IPG’s revelation that the Securities and Exchange Commission has demanded information concerning the bookkeeping bloopers that precipitated the agency group’s $181.3m restatement of past earnings to 1997 [WAMN: 14-Nov-02].

Jack Trout, president of an eponymous marketing strategy consultancy in Greenwich, Connecticut, voiced the concerns of many in the ad business: “This is like the death of a thousand cuts. Interpublic just keeps dribbling out all of this bad news. [It] casts a pall over the ad business. It undermines the whole notion that agencies should be big, messy, holding companies with all of those subsidiaries.”

In a conference call Tuesday Interpublic ceo John J Dooner was in uncharacteristically submissive mode, recalling that he had spent years at McCann’s helm before his elevation to the holding company: “I was at McCann during some of these events, and, you know, I have to tell you that that keeps me or makes me more embarrassed and more humbled, and I think, also, therefore more resolved that this would never happen again.”

Data sourced from: Multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff