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
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
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
"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
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."