Bungey paves the way for his imminent exit from troubled Cordiant

LONDON: Michael Bungey, Cordiant Communications' 62-year-old CEO, is expected to announce a plan for his succession that will lead to his long-expected departure from the firm.

LONDON: Michael Bungey, Cordiant Communications' 62-year-old CEO, is expected to announce a plan for his succession that will lead to his long-expected departure from the firm.

Press reports have speculated that Bungey may anoint David Hearn, CEO of Cordiant ad agency Bates Worldwide, as his successor. Hearn's New York office denied any changes.

Hearn previously worked as CEO/MD of Australian food manufacturer Goodman Fielder. He later joined Bates, and was appointed to Cordiant's board in March 2002. Tom Deitz, a Merrill Lynch media analyst in London, said: "He'll probably take over in the next six months."

Bungey has been under pressure to exit the firm, which counts FD Morgen-Walke among its PR assets, because of its poor stock performance. Press reports have said that part of the pressure has come from investor David Herro, a portfolio manager at UK firm Harris Associates, which has a 9.29% stake in Cordiant. Herro infamously ousted the Saatchi brothers from their own ad agency in a 1995 boardroom coup.

Cordiant was forced to rearrange its debt covenants early this year and has made a series of profit warnings.

The company was due to announce interim half-yearly results as PRWeek went to press. Deitz estimated revenues for the first six months of the year would be in the region of ?279 million ($436 million).

Cordiant's financial PR firm, College Hill, refused to comment on the reports.

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