The barometer appears to be set to 'stormy' for troubled Cordiant Communications, not least because of the upcoming High Court case brought by dismissed PR pair Nick Miles and Hugh Morrison [WAMN: 25-Feb-02].
It emerged this weekend that the duo, respectively the former ceo and group managing director at Cordiant-owned PR unit Financial Dynamics, have filed their compensation claims under the putative ‘whistle-blowers’ charter’ – the 1999 Public Interest Disclosure Act. This empowers an employment tribunal to award unlimited compensation to an employee sacked for bringing corporate wrongdoing to the public’s attention.
But as to the actual events underlying this choice of route to court, lips are welded on both sides. Cordiant would comment only that “it’s the court rules that operate here and it's up to them [Miles and Morrison] what they release to the press”.
Cordiant has offered no explanation for the abrupt firings of the high profile twosome, currently on six months ‘gardening leave’, and under a court injunction to remain silent about the circumstances surrounding their exit until the fast-track hearing on 15 April.
Meantime, the denizens of EC2 and Wall Street are getting increasingly twitchy that Cordiant overpaid for certain acquisitions immediately prior to the global advertising drought. Of particular concern is the £380m paid in 2000 for Chicago-based Lighthouse Group, a specialist in direct marketing, sales promotion, sports marketing and event marketing.
As at 12 noon today (Monday) Cordiant shares stood at £0.85 on the London stock exchange compared with a high of £4.06 two years ago. In the fallout from recent agency consolidations, the group is seen as a prime takeover target.
Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk and BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff