Shandwick merger fallout

SAN FRANCISCO: In the wake of last month's announcement of a Weber-dominated merger with sister Interpublic Group shop Shandwick, the widely-predicted Shandwick mass exodus may have begun.

SAN FRANCISCO: In the wake of last month's announcement of a Weber-dominated merger with sister Interpublic Group shop Shandwick, the widely-predicted Shandwick mass exodus may have begun.

SAN FRANCISCO: In the wake of last month's announcement of a Weber-dominated merger with sister Interpublic Group shop Shandwick, the widely-predicted Shandwick mass exodus may have begun.

Gary Thompson, the president of Shandwick International who quit last week, would seem to be the first casualty of the reorganization. He will join the SF office of Schwartz Communications as executive VP, though he denied that his departure was connected to the merger. 'It's really simple,' he said. 'I had been traveling three weeks a month for several years. The big thing for me was to get off the road.'

A source close to Shandwick corroborated the rumors of widespread imminent resignations. He said about 45 people are actively looking to leave. Citing chaos and frustration over managerial fluctuations, he said that those headed for the door include 'Just about everybody in public affairs, a couple of exec VPs and three or four managing directors.'

However, Thompson said he didn't know of anyone else who was leaving the firm and panned reports of widespread discontent at Shandwick, though he conceded: 'Change begets change, and when you have a transition like this, it may prompt people who are thinking about changing to go through with it.'

The merger becomes effective January 1, 2001, creating the world's largest PR firm, with an estimated dollars 320 million in fee income and 68 offices worldwide. Weber/Shandwick CEO Larry Weber was not available for comment.





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