Weber, Diamond and Leslie lift lid on new world order at WSW

NEW YORK: Teams from both sides are already collaborating on new

business, and clients are 100% positive, said new CEO Harris Diamond as

the merger of Weber Shandwick and BSMG was officially confirmed last

week.



The new $525 million supershop will be called Weber Shandwick

Worldwide (WSW), but the two top roles will be held by BSMG CEO Diamond

and BSMG chairman Jack Leslie.



Scott Meyer, current WSW chairman (who was CEO at Shandwick

International prior to last year's merger with The Weber Group) has been

named chief strategic officer. Cathy Lugbauer, who was COO at WSW,

becomes chief marketing officer.



With the new team in place, Larry Weber, formerly WSW's CEO, will chair

the integration team but will focus on his responsibilities as head of

the enhanced Advanced Marketing Services group (formerly Allied

Communications).



Diamond will report to Weber.



Other top roles have not been announced, but operational reporting lines

will be set by September 30. Diamond said there were "loads of great

people" at WSW, and denied that it would be a BSMG takeover. "There's

real bench strength when you drill down," added Leslie.



Diamond does not underestimate the size of the task, but said, "I think

the vision we have for this company is compelling. People these days are

less tied to firms and more focused on careers, opportunity and

interesting work. We will allow them to amass unrivaled intellectual

capacity."



"This is the firm to emerge in the next 10 years to define what PR will

be about," added Weber.



With 4,000 employees in 19 countries and across 74 cities, Diamond said

the culture would be defined by "a spirit of collaboration,

entrepreneurship and client focus.



"Let's celebrate our diversity," added Leslie. "The client doesn't want

homogenous people. The key is to get different people working well

together." Teams from BSMG and WSW were already working together on a

client crisis, he added.



"I don't think one client has said, 'Gee, I want a homogenous culture,'"

added Weber. "They want diverse people who can solve complex

issues."



On the client side, Diamond added "this is the biggest slam dunk. Every

client call in the last 36 hours has been positive. One Fortune 100

company has already asked us to come in for a chat. We've been trying to

get in the door for four years."



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