Burson chair Phillips returns to his ad roots

NEW YORK: Less than one year after taking the reins at Burson-Marsteller, chairman Graham Phillips has returned to the advertising world. And word on the street is that a successor won’t be named anytime soon.

NEW YORK: Less than one year after taking the reins at Burson-Marsteller, chairman Graham Phillips has returned to the advertising world. And word on the street is that a successor won’t be named anytime soon.

NEW YORK: Less than one year after taking the reins at

Burson-Marsteller, chairman Graham Phillips has returned to the

advertising world. And word on the street is that a successor won’t be

named anytime soon.



Phillips, who succeeded Tom Bell as head of Burson last September, has

shifted across disciplines to become chairman and CEO of parent Young &

Rubicam’s advertising unit, once again filling Bell’s shoes.



Y&R’s board of directors recently named Bell president and COO of

holding company Y&R Inc., and he will assume the role of CEO next year

as Peter Georgescu becomes chairman emeritus.



Worldwide CEO Chris Komisarjevsky declined to comment, but said in a

staff memo that ’we will be giving a great deal of thought to the role

of chairman.’ But the fact that the firm has not immediately tapped a

replacement - or even set a timetable for naming one - suggests that

Komisarjevsky is happy with the status quo and in no rush to replace

Phillips.



One industry observer agreed with the assessment: ’There is no pressing

need to have someone in that position with Harold (Burson) there and

Chris doing his thing. It’s not a priority.’



Harold Burson will continue to serve as founding chairman. In the memo,

Komisarjevsky remarked ’we are indeed blessed that Harold ... continues

to work closely with all of us.’



Formerly chairman/CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, Phillips joined

Burson in 1997 after spending most of his career in the ad business. He

also oversaw Y&R’s diversified communications group.



Industry observers saw last year’s appointment of Bell, a PR veteran, as

part of newly public Y&R’s larger push to integrate all disciplines

under Georgescu. Phillips’ shift to the ad side of the Y&R empire could

reflect a desire to install someone at Burson with more PR experience -

if indeed the position is filled at all.



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