NEW YORK, Dec 15, 2004 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG) announced today that it had named Steve Blamer as CEO and President of its Foote Cone & Belding unit. Mr. Blamer will assume these responsibilities from Brendan Ryan, who continues in his role as FCB's Chairman.
Mr. Blamer, 48, joins FCB from Grey Worldwide, where he had most recently been CEO of Grey North American, following highly successful stints at the head of Grey's three largest agencies, in Los Angeles, London and New York. Mr. Ryan, 62, has served as CEO of FCB Worldwide since 1996 and had been working with Interpublic for the past year to identify and recruit a successor.
"This is a very significant move for us. Steve Blamer is a tremendous talent and the kind of leader who has consistently proven that he can take an agency to new heights in terms of its growth and overall financial performance. He will also add to the overall management bench strength at Interpublic. I am pleased that we now have new CEOs in place at FCB and Lowe as we head into 2005," said Interpublic Chairman Michael Roth. Interpublic CEO and President David Bell added, "Brendan Ryan and his team have done an excellent job in building their clients' business and delivering bottom line results. Brendan began pursuing Steve almost two years ago and we came close to getting him once before. Recent developments at Grey made today's news possible. Adding an executive of Steve's caliber to the mix is another huge win for us. With him on board, we're confident FCB can become an increasingly dynamic player in new business. We're extremely pleased he has agreed to join Interpublic."
"I'm excited by the opportunity that exists for me at FCB, as well as by the people I'll be working with there and at Interpublic," said Mr. Blamer. "FCB has a great heritage as an agency whose work moves the needle for clients in tough market battles, while also building brands. That's a real strength which I believe we can leverage. I've been fortunate to run great agencies domestically and in Europe - the chance to replicate the success I've experienced at the local and regional level as the head of this type of global network was very appealing. In light of the recent acquisition of Grey, I also came to realize that I'm at a point in my career at which I want to be part of an organization whose values reflect my own and whose management I both like and respect - thus my choice of Interpublic. I look forward to partnering with Michael, David and Brendan."
"Steve has always been one of our toughest competitors," said Mr. Ryan. "Over the years, he's grown from a terrific ad guy into a great leader, manager and integrated marketer. When he took over Grey New York in 2000, restructured the agency and recruited top new talent, he gave that agency a huge shot in the arm. That kind of innovative and inspiring leadership will help us spark FCB. And since Steve started his career at Foote Cone & Belding, this is a kind of homecoming for him and for the agency."
Mr. Blamer began his advertising career working on the Sunkist beverage account at FCB in Chicago. In 1981, he joined DDB Needham on its Kraft Foods business. Three years later, he returned to FCB and his native California to work on First Interstate Bank, the Los Angeles office's largest account. In 1989, after a two-year hiatus from advertising during which he and a former client founded and sold a successful fruit drink company, Blamer joined Grey in Los Angeles.
His performance leading major domestic and international accounts across a broad range of industries led to his appointment as Managing Director of Grey Los Angeles in 1997. During his year in that position, the agency posted one of its strongest years in its history. In 1998, Blamer was named to head Grey London, the network's third-largest agency. His tenure as CEO saw the agency lead the industry in new business wins.
Only two years after heading to Europe, Blamer was tapped to head Grey's New York headquarters. His innovative re-organization of the agency spurred significant gains in both income and profits, in spite of one the most severe recessions in the history of the advertising industry. In 2003, Blamer was named CEO and President of Grey Worldwide North America.
Founded in 1873, Foote Cone & Belding is the world's second oldest advertising agency. Today, FCB is a leading global network offering clients in 110 countries a full range of integrated communications services, including advertising, direct, digital, database and healthcare marketing, field service marketing and sports and event capabilities. FCB clients include Beiersdorf, Boeing, Hewlett-Packard, Kraft Foods, Merck, Samsung, SC Johnson and Yum! Brands.
Interpublic is one of the world's leading organizations of advertising agencies and marketing-services companies. Major global brands include Draft, Foote Cone & Belding Worldwide, GolinHarris International, Initiative, Jack Morton Worldwide, Lowe & Partners Worldwide, McCann Erickson, Octagon, Universal McCann and Weber Shandwick Worldwide. Leading domestic brands include Campbell-Ewald, Deutsch and Hill Holliday.
SOURCE: The Interpublic Group
The Interpublic Group (General Inquiries) Julie Tu, 212/827-3776 or (Media, Analysts, Investors) Philippe Krakowsky, 212/704-1328 or (Analysts, Investors) Jerry Leshne, 212/704-1439