BOSTON: In an unexpected announcement, Marijean Lauzier, president
and COO of Weber Shandwick Worldwide (WSW) announced she would quit the
newly-merged firm effective September 30.
Her position will be split between Catherine Lugbauer - who moves from
EVP of operations for Interpublic's Allied Communications Group (ACG) -
and Larry Weber, CEO of WSW who adds the title president in addition to
his responsibilities as chairman and CEO of ACG.
Lauzier said she plans to take time off and return in early 2002 with a
new venture. She would not elaborate, but said she may work with Larry
Weber again in the future.
'I am leaving because I have completed the extraordinary assignment I
agreed to do when Weber Shandwick was created - to bring the businesses
together,' she said.
The loss of Lauzier is a big blow to Weber, having relied upon her to
attend to the 'details' while he oversaw 'the big picture'along with
chairman Scott Meyer. She was viewed as the heir-apparent to the CEO
However, Weber said he looks forward to having more direct control. 'At
some point I'm going to be looking for more support in the senior ranks,
but right now we have a tough year to weather out,' said Weber, who will
begin receiving direct reports from the MDs of countries and
Weber said there had been no discussions on filling the ranks with
officers from Interpublic's True North acquisition - which brings BSMG
into the fold - but would more carefully consider those options this
summer, when the dollars 2.1 billion deal is expected to close.
Weber, Lauzier and Lugbauer have known each other for more than a
Lugbauer worked with Larry Weber in the mid-1980s at what is now Magnet
Communications. Lauzier joined the Weber Group in 1990 and left in 1993
to open her own agency, the Neva Group. In 1997, Larry Weber bought Neva
and, after taking time off, Lauzier became president and COO of Weber in
1998. She moved to her current role this past January when the WSW deal
Weber stressed that Lauzier's departure is 'an extremely amicable thing.
We're all determined to do this transition right.'
Lugbauer is already working with Lauzier on learning the
responsibilities of day-to-day WSW operations. Lugbauer plans to refocus
the organization by using new technologies to embrace non-traditional PR
elements, like viral marketing.