News Release

>> Search all news releases
<< Back
Interpublic Names Christopher Coughlin Chief Operating Officer

Pharmacia CFO Brings Broad Operating and Financial Experience; Was Previously at Nabisco Holdings and Sterling Winthrop

NEW YORK, May 7, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Interpublic Group (NYSE:IPG) today announced that it has named Christopher J. Coughlin as its Chief Operating Officer.

Coughlin will join Interpublic, effective June 16, from the Pharmacia Corporation, where he is currently Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Previously, Coughlin held the same position at Nabisco Holdings, where he also served as President of Nabisco International.

In his new role, Coughlin, 50, will team with Interpublic Chairman and CEO David Bell in managing the advertising and marketing services holding company and will serve on the Board of Directors. Sean Orr remains Interpublic's CFO and a member of the Board of Directors and will report directly to Coughlin. In addition he will work with Bell and Coughlin on balance sheet matters. Coughlin will work with the heads of the company's major operating units to improve margins and to ensure financial reliability and accountability.

"I am extremely pleased and excited to have found a partner with such a unique combination of operational strength and financial skills," said Bell. "Chris is an exceptional executive, who has enjoyed very successful tenures as the CFO of three major multinationals. At each of those leading firms, he demonstrated the ability to make significant impact on strategic and operational issues well beyond his areas of responsibility. Chris has significant experience managing large organizations undergoing transition and he also brings direct operational and international marketing experience to the table. The Board of Directors and I saw a number of great candidates, but none had as impressive a combination of superior intellect and breadth of perspective."

"I am looking forward to working with David and his senior management in leading the turnaround at Interpublic," added Coughlin. "I am familiar and comfortable with many of the challenges the company is facing, from successfully integrating operations to improving business planning and interacting with the financial community. Interpublic has vital agency brands -- I want to play a role in seeing them consistently generate equally strong financial results."

Coughlin began his career at Arthur Young, now Ernst & Young. In 1981, he moved to Sterling Winthrop, where he rose through the financial ranks, serving as Vice President, Finance, first for the Pacific Rim region, then for International operations and in 1991 for the company's Consumer Products Group. He was named Chief Financial Officer and a member of the Board of Directors in 1993, with functional responsibility for all corporate finance. During this time, he successfully led the company through a global re-organization, the re-engineering of its worldwide information services and the divestiture of its pharmaceutical business.

In 1996, Coughlin joined Nabisco Holdings as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, where he was credited with significantly enhancing the business planning process. Eight months after his arrival, he was promoted to President of Nabisco International. There, he oversaw the growth of the company's Asian, European and Latin American consumer packaged goods businesses through both acquisitions and increases in market share.

The following year, Coughlin was recruited to serve as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Pharmacia, as the company sought to integrate operations and relocate its corporate headquarters in the wake of its merger with Upjohn. He also led the company's outreach to shareholders and the financial community. Most recently, he has been a key player in the planning and implementation of the company's 2000 merger with Monsanto and the subsequent spin-off of Monsanto's agricultural business, as well as the 2003 merger with Pfizer.

About Interpublic

Interpublic is one of the world's leading organizations of advertising agencies and marketing services companies. Its five global operating groups are McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, The Partnership, FCB Group, Interpublic Sports and Entertainment Group, and Advanced Marketing Services. Major global brands include Draft Worldwide, Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, Golin/Harris International, Initiative Media, Lowe Worldwide, McCann-Erickson, Octagon, Universal McCann and Weber Shandwick Worldwide.

SOURCE: The Interpublic Group

The Interpublic Group, New York
Philippe Krakowsky (press), 212/399-8088
or
Susan Watson (investors), 212/399-8208