Reports that institutional investors in Cordiant Communications are calling for the departure of chief executive Michael Bungey sent shares in the UK-headquartered agency group tumbling 15.5% to 76p on Wednesday morning.

Cordiant, parent of Bates Worldwide, denied speculation in The Times that the ceo is under pressure to leave before results are reported in March. “Michael Bungey has a job to do and he's getting on with it,” said the group.

The news rounds off a bad few days for Cordiant. Late last week Bates discovered one of its clients, Hyundai Motor America, is to review its US creative duties, while on Tuesday it was reported that two former PR executives are suing the group for £5 million, claiming unfair dismissal and breach of contract [WAMN: 28-Jan-02; 29-Jan-02].

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