The current employment contract of David A Bell, chief executive of the troubled Interpublic Group, expires on March 1 2005 - barely three months hence - and a new agreement is as yet uninked.

Whether this tardiness is due to reluctance on Bell's part, or that of IPG, the globe's third largest agency holding company, is unknown. And no-one nowhere ain't sayin' nothin' nohow.

It is known, however, that Bell has been handing over certain operational duties to new chairman Michael Roth, who joined Interpublic in July.

"As a matter of policy, we do not comment on executive contracts," said Interpublic in a statement. "All speculation aside, the fact is the partnership between Mr Bell and Mr. Roth is working out well, as expected."

Bell (60), former chief executive of True North Communications, acquired by IPG in June 2001, told investors after his appointment as group ceo in 2003: "I signaled [at the time of the takeover] that I intended to stay for five years, but certainly through the end of the turnaround, and nothing has dissuaded me from that."

Interpublic is currently deeply in the red as it struggles to recover from seven consecutive quarters of deficits [WAMN 04-Nov-04].

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