WSW streamlines brands, names top management

NEW YORK: Weber Shandwick Worldwide has unveiled its new leaner,

more organized look, trimming brands and clarifying the agency's

leadership structure. But the simultaneous announcement of WSW's

projected staff numbers for 2001 may show how the tech industry torpor

and recession have impacted on the agency.



Following a meeting of around 200 of the agency's leaders, WSW has

revealed a lineup of 10 key brands that will be maintained following the

merger, many of which will add the WSW moniker to their own (see

sidebar).



"Naturally, more and more we want to tie all the brands into Weber

Shandwick," said CEO Harris Diamond. "Nowadays, it's all about being

able to pull together the intellectual capital from each area. However,

we also had to consider the value of brands such as Rogers & Cowan and

FRB in particular markets."



New US appointments include Andy Polansky of BSMG to be president and

CEO of the Eastern states, Barbara Molotsky of BSMG to hold the same

office for the Central states, and WSW's Tom Tardio to lead the Western

region.



The consumer practice will report to Molotsky, entertainment to Tardio,

and technology and healthcare to Polansky. Donni Case, president of

BSMG-owned Financial Relations Board (FRB), will lead investor relations

and will report to Polansky. Former BSMG man Joe Kessler has been

re-hired to run the global tech practice. BSMG's Laura Schoen will run

global healthcare.



"The strength of our people was the most impressive thing about (meeting

in) Florida," said Diamond. "Not just the US guys, but everyone. We are

going to lead in everything we do."



But, like other firms, WSW has also had to tackle the issue of staff

cuts. In a WSW fact sheet dated February 27, 2001, the agency stated it

had 3,000 employees worldwide. In its PRWeek agency rankings filing

earlier this year, BSMG stated it had 1,092 employees. The combined

entity, however, will have around 3,000 employees, leaving around 1,000

unaccounted for.



Diamond would not talk about specific numbers, but said that the merger

itself has resulted in staff cuts of less than 5%. Senior sources said

the remaining reduction in staff numbers was almost entirely due to

shrinking revenues in the tech and financial sectors, which have forced

WSW to amalgamate and rationalize its offices.



SURVIVING BRANDS

1. Weber Shandwick Worldwide

2. Rogers & Cowan

3. Benjamin Group

4. FRB

5. Sawyer Miller Advertising

6. MPGH

7. KRC

8. Bragman Nyman Cafarelli

9. Rowan & Blewitt

10. Cassidy, along with its Powell Tate, Lunde Berger, Rhoads Maguire,

and SWR units



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