CAMBRIDGE, April 6—When Interpublic decided to merge its Weber Worldwide and Shandwick International units last year, Weber’s Marijean Lauzier was handed the toughest job of all. With chief executive Larry Weber focused on further acquisitions and chairman Scott Meyer creating the architecture for the new firm, Lauzier was in charge of integrating the two disparate operations.
Now, just six months after the merger, Lauzier has announced her plans to leave the agency at the end of the summer, to “undertake a new entrepreneurial challenge.”
Lauzier describes herself as “a serial entrepreneur,” having joined Weber when it was still very much a boutique agency and having left to start her own high-tech PR firm, Neva Group, before returning two years ago. She declined to provide details of the new venture except to say, “Despite all the doom and gloom, I think this is an exciting time in the history of technology. It’s a time at which branding and the Internet and PR are coming together to create some exciting opportunities.”
While Weber’s assertion that Lauzier has “successfully completed the integration” of the two agencies might strike some observers as premature, the infrastructure is now in place, and Lauzier is still on the road, visiting with agency leaders in Europe this week, for example. She will continue in that role for a six-month transition period.
Weber is expected to look outside the organization for a president, but it moved immediately to strengthen its senior management team, naming Cathy Lugbauer chief operating officer.
“Marijean has done a wonderful job putting the two organizations together and although I will miss her, I respect her desire to return to her entrepreneurial roots,” says Weber. “Cathy, with her strong operational skills and in-depth knowledge of the marketing communications landscape, will be a great asset as we lead the organization through our next stage of development.”
Lugbauer, who currently serves as chair of the Council of Public Relations Firms, will be based in New York. She has more than 25 years of corporate communications experience, holding management positions at Weber Public Relations Worldwide and Creamer Dickson Basford, and most recently serving as executive vice president of operations for Interpublic’s Allied Communications Group, where she was responsible for integrating cross-group business development efforts.