James R Heekin – former boss of McCann-Erickson WorldGroup ousted in the wake of the agency’s accounting difficulties – is joining Euro RSCG Worldwide.

Effective Wednesday, Heekin was appointed to the new role of president and chief operating officer at the Havas-owned network. He will report to Euro RSCG chairman/ceo Robert Schmetterer.

Heekin left McCann in February after accounting problems at the network forced parent Interpublic Group to issue a series of earnings restatements [WAMN: 28-Feb-03]. With McCann’s strife compounded by troubles at IPG’s motorsports unit, the holding company eventually had to restate revenues of $181.3 million (€157.7m; £109.4m).

Some observers regard his move to Euro RSCG as a case of ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire.’ Havas recently posted a $64.9m first-half loss and is slashing jobs and selling agencies to compensate [WAMN: 22-Sept-03]. Euro RSCG, however, will be built into the group’s chief global network.

Heekin is not contrite about his time at McCann. “I can absolutely say I have zero regrets about anything I did at McCann-Erickson,” he declared in an interview this week. “I tried very hard to hold that place together during a very difficult time.”

Schmetterer also brushed aside mention of the multimillion-dollar accounting difficulties, calling them a “non-issue” in appointing Heekin. He continued: “While it's hard for me to comment about the specific issues at Interpublic, for me there's no question about Jim and his management capabilities and his talent for the business.”

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff