PN planning top-level changes amid senior departure rumors

NEW YORK: Porter Novelli International is preparing for a change of

management, with speculation that CEO Bob Druckenmiller is soon to exit

along with COO Jeff Herskowitz.



Druckenmiller, 59, was reluctant to discuss the "timetable" for his

future plans, but admitted that wheels were in motion and that he was

working on a succession plan. However he said there would be no sudden

changes in the last five months of this year.



COO Jeff Herskowitz, 46, has confirmed his departure from the firm. He

has been managing the financial, operational and technological side of

the business and said: "I've accomplished a lot in the last 14 years at

this global company and now it is time to find something else to

do."



Despite rumors among senior industry sources to the contrary, Herskowitz

said his departure was not related to Druckenmiller's plans.



Porter Novelli has been criticized by some industry players for looking

top heavy. In November 2000, PN reorganized, naming 33 partners to

oversee US operations with eight senior partners sitting on an executive

management committee. And while chairman Peter Hehir departed in

February, there are still four top executives in charge of business: CEO

Druckenmiller, COO Herskowitz, CFO Michael Gaeb and Druckenmiller's heir

apparent president David Copithorne, who is based in Boston.



Copithorne is considered a rising star in the Omnicom empire. He came to

PN through its acquisition of his agency, Copithorne & Bellows, which

has since been absorbed into the tech-focused Porter Novelli Convergence

Group. The operation counts computer giant Hewlett Packard among its

clients - an account which excluded PN from joining with its siblings

Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum and Brodeur to pitch for the IBM

business.



PN had to revise downwards its international fee income last year, from

dollars 214 million to dollars 208 million following the divestiture of

German PR subsidiary Kohtes & Klewes, which now operates as an

independent Omnicom unit within Diversified Agency Services (DAS). In

the previous year, Brodeur also chose to go it alone. On a global basis

the firm has fallen from No. 3 in 1999 to No. 6 in 2000.



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