In the world’s most widely predicted exit since General Noriega, the embattled chief executive of Cordiant Communications Group Michael Bungey announced his intention to retire early next year.

And as the planet has also known for weeks, Bungey will be succeeded by David Hearn, currently heading Cordiant’s faltering US flagship network Bates Worldwide.

The announcement was accompanied by downbeat results for the half-year to June 30, posing pretax profits virtually halved at £11.5 million ($18.03m; €18.18m) from last year’s £22.1m. An apt background to the gospel of gloom preached by the departing ad veteran.

“'Depressed trading levels persist throughout our markets,” said Bungey. “Whilst conditions may have stabilised, I see no signs of a recovery anytime soon.”

Meantime, lurking in the background is the troublesome troika of investors – Julian Treger and Brian Myerson of Active Value Fund Managers and Maurice Saatchi’s nemesis, Chicago fund manager David Herro – still agitating for a major revamp of Cordiant’s senior management [WAMN: 23-Aug-02].

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff