WSW reveals managerial changes ahead of merger

Weber Shandwick Worldwide has announced a raft of senior management

appointments ahead of the full merger next month of its business with

that of rival top ten global firm BSMG.

The two Interpublic networks formally join forces on 1 October. The

latest hires follow news last week that the business will be led in the

UK by joint CEOs Colin Byrne, formerly CEO of public affairs for the WSW

operation, and David Brain, the ex-CEO of BSMG's entire UK team.

Merging will create a £50m fee income 500-strong UK PR giant,

dwarfing other top five firms such as Hill & Knowlton, Citigate Dewe

Rogerson, Bell Pottinger and Countrywide Porter Novelli.

The roles announced this week include that of Chris Genasi, formerly CEO

of the WSW corporate practice. He will not have a CEO title in the new

set-up, nor will he run a practice area.

But Genasi does remain with the company as director of strategic

planning working across the practice areas and charged with 'thinking

into the future'.

'PR has traditionally thought of strategy as "the day after tomorrow"

rather than just tomorrow. This appointment is an attempt to address

that,' said Tim Sutton, the ex-BSMG European chairman. He will leave the

combined firm early next year after his spell as interim chairman and

head of the integration committee ends.

Tessa Curtis, in charge of WSW's financial, broadcast and interactive PR

team in the old management structure, will head a beefed up corporate

team, which retains a broadcast and interactive focus but will absorb

many of the staff of Genasi's old operation.

The financial part of Curtis's former brief will be hived off and merged

with BSMG's financial PR arm, Square Mile. No appointment has yet been

made for this role, but contenders include Square Mile founders Tim

Jackaman and Susan Ellis.

The leadership of the combined public affairs unit is also still to be

decided, though Byrne insisted this week he would remain 'pretty hands

on' in the future.

The visual communications unit falls under the remit of BSMG director

Dick Lumsden, while a merged healthcare team will be headed by BSMG

director Karen Winterhalter.

The company is to hunt externally for a marcomms CEO since an as yet

undefined role has been set aside for BSMG consumer head Pamela


- Analysis, p10.

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