Lauzier suddenly departs WSW, Lugbauer to fill role

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

role.



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

regions.



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

decade.



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

closed.



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.



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