Kevin Coyne, the most senior media executive at Bates North America, quit the agency Monday allegedly for “personal reasons” – even though his exit coincided to the day with the integration of his media unit into Publicis Groupe’s Zenith Optimedia network.

Coyne was unavailable for comment and no replacement has been named. Instead, the merger will be overseen by a transition team of several key Bates executives, among them Gary Steele, managing director of Bates' retail group; Tom Morelli, senior vp and media planning director; John Lazarus, director of broadcast relations; plus Optimedia ceo Mike Drexler.

The merger became inevitable after Bates lost Hyundai Motor’s $500 million US media business earlier this year, leaving its media arm shorn of marketplace billings muscle. Cordiant Communications, Bates’ parent, has a 25% stake in Zenith Optimedia.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff