Polansky, Molotsky and Tardio Get New Roles at WSW
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Polansky, Molotsky and Tardio Get New Roles at WSW

Three months after Interpublic announced its plans to merge Weber Shandwick Worldwide with its newly acquired BSMG Worldwide unit, the marriage was consummated this week, creating a new PR firm with revenues of $450 million.

Paul Holmes

NEW YORK, October 8—Three months after Interpublic announced its plans to merge Weber Shandwick Worldwide with its newly acquired BSMG Worldwide unit, the marriage was consummated this week, creating a new PR firm with 3,000 employees and projected 2001 revenues of $450 million—significantly less than the $525 million the two firms reported last year but probably still enough to rank the new firm as the largest in the world.
 
In addition to the previously announced management team, which includes Harris Diamond as chief executive officer, Jack Leslie as chairman, and Scott Meyer as chief strategic officer, the firm announced a new leadership team for the U.S., with BSMG’s Andy Polansky and Barbara Molotsky and WSW’s Tom Tardio named president and chief operating officers for the eastern, central, and western regions respectively.
 
The technology and healthcare practices will report to Polansky, as will the FRB investor relations unit. The global technology practice will be led by Joe Kessler, who is returning to BSMG a year after leaving to work at a technology start-up, while global healthcare will be led by BSMG’s Laura Schoen and IR will be led by Donni Case.
 
The consumer practice will report to Molotsky, while the entertainment practice will continue to report to Tardio.
 
Other key appointments include Ed Powers as chief administrative officer, Ranny Cooper as president and chief operating officer of public affairs, and Cathy Lugbauer as chief marketing officer and president of a newly formed enterprise group, which will be responsible for managing relationships between the firm and its top 20 clients.
 
In a memo, Diamond told employees of the merged agency, “We will lead in all that we do. This vision means we must lead in creating a great workplace, in the categories in which we compete, in high-level strategy, in the quality of our client service, and in operational and financial excellence at all levels.”
 
Diamond says the two firms have already combined for several new business wins, including Burger King, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and Eli Lilly.
 
One challenge will be branding. The merger process involved bringing together 28 different brands, now reduced to just 10. Among the brands that will survive in the U.S.: entertainment specialist Rogers & Cowan, tech specialist Benjamin Group, investor relations powerhouse FRB, the Sawyer Miller Advertising and MPGH issues advertising units, KRC research, entertainment and lifestyle boutique Bragman Nyman Cafarelli, crisis specialist Rowan & Blewitt, and government relations giant Cassidy, with its Powell Tate, Lunde Berger, Rhoads Maguire, and SWR units.
 
“Some of the brands will be assimilated,” says Diamond. “All of them will be tied in much more closely with Weber Shandwick, so that Rogers & Cowan for example will now be known as Rogers & Cowan Weber Shandwick.”
 
While BSMG executives dominate the U.S. management structure, the biggest overseas jobs went to former Weber Shandwick people. Weber Shandwick’s Lutz Meyer will be chief executive officer for Europe, with BSMG’s David Brain and WSW’s Colin Byrne serving as joint CEOs in the U.K. Alison Clarke will be chief executive officer of the Asia Pacific region.
 
Says Diamond, “In bringing these firms together, we discovered a tremendous amount of intellectual capital and a client list that was second to none. The most difficult task will be bringing several different cultures together and trying to build a new cultures that draws on the best practices of each of those firms.”
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