NEW YORK: Omnicom, the world's third-largest advertising holding company, has taken a page from the book of number-one group Interpublic, and had a radical cleanout of its top board of directors.President and CEO John Wren has whittled the board from 17 to 11, with a number of agency chiefs stepping down. Among them is Tom Harrison, chairman and CEO of Diversified Agency Services, the umbrella division for Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum, Brodeur, and Porter Novelli.
Chiefs of ad agencies including BBDO Worldwide, TBWA, and DDB Worldwide have also opted not to stand for reelection when their terms expire in May. To give the board a more independent flavor, Robert Charles Clark, Harvard Law School dean, has been appointed.
Interpublic moved toward a more independent board in February with the departure of four agency chiefs, including Lowe & Partners founder Frank Lowe.
Wren explained that the move was driven by the desire to change a system that had been in place since Omnicom's creation in 1986. "With several management transitions in the last year, as well as the upcoming expiration of the terms of five of the seven directors, we thought it was an appropriate time to consider our long-term objective of modifying our board composition,