Weber Shandwick Worldwide has announced a raft of senior management
appointments ahead of the full merger next month of its business with
that of rival top ten global firm BSMG.
The two Interpublic networks formally join forces on 1 October. The
latest hires follow news last week that the business will be led in the
UK by joint CEOs Colin Byrne, formerly CEO of public affairs for the WSW
operation, and David Brain, the ex-CEO of BSMG's entire UK team.
Merging will create a £50m fee income 500-strong UK PR giant,
dwarfing other top five firms such as Hill & Knowlton, Citigate Dewe
Rogerson, Bell Pottinger and Countrywide Porter Novelli.
The roles announced this week include that of Chris Genasi, formerly CEO
of the WSW corporate practice. He will not have a CEO title in the new
set-up, nor will he run a practice area.
But Genasi does remain with the company as director of strategic
planning working across the practice areas and charged with 'thinking
into the future'.
'PR has traditionally thought of strategy as "the day after tomorrow"
rather than just tomorrow. This appointment is an attempt to address
that,' said Tim Sutton, the ex-BSMG European chairman. He will leave the
combined firm early next year after his spell as interim chairman and
head of the integration committee ends.
Tessa Curtis, in charge of WSW's financial, broadcast and interactive PR
team in the old management structure, will head a beefed up corporate
team, which retains a broadcast and interactive focus but will absorb
many of the staff of Genasi's old operation.
The financial part of Curtis's former brief will be hived off and merged
with BSMG's financial PR arm, Square Mile. No appointment has yet been
made for this role, but contenders include Square Mile founders Tim
Jackaman and Susan Ellis.
The leadership of the combined public affairs unit is also still to be
decided, though Byrne insisted this week he would remain 'pretty hands
on' in the future.
The visual communications unit falls under the remit of BSMG director
Dick Lumsden, while a merged healthcare team will be headed by BSMG
director Karen Winterhalter.
The company is to hunt externally for a marcomms CEO since an as yet
undefined role has been set aside for BSMG consumer head Pamela
- Analysis, p10.