Interpublic Group chairman emeritus Phil Geier, widely credited as the architect of the group’s growth to world number one status, is stepping down with immediate effect to give his successor, John Dooner, “more room to run the company”.

Geier, the group’s former chief executive officer, has served on the Interpublic board since 1975, and now aims to pursue other business interests.

Also quitting the board, for “health reasons”, according to Dooner, is Geier’s long-serving colleague Leif Olsen. He is accompanied by Michael Miles, a relatively new recruit who joined the board in 1999, and about whose exit there is a curious silence.

The resignations were revealed to yesterday’s annual meeting of Interpublic shareholders, who also approved a new board appointment – that of Richard Goldstein, a former Unilever staffer and now chairman and ceo of International Flavors & Fragrances.

The new appointment brings Interpublic’s director tally to nine (two less than previously – but the number of chairs around the boardroom table is apparently unspecified).

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