SAN FRANCISCO: Applied Communications and FitzGerald Communications, two of hi-tech’s hottest independents, announced plans last week to keep their best staffers from straying to dot-coms armed with stock options.
SAN FRANCISCO: Applied Communications and FitzGerald
Communications, two of hi-tech’s hottest independents, announced plans
last week to keep their best staffers from straying to dot-coms armed
with stock options.
Under the terms of the plans, each firm will pool the securities and
stock of client companies and distribute gains from the fund to
Applied’s program will distribute units of its investment pool on a 3
1/2-year vesting schedule to all 75 of the firm’s full-time
The number of units individual employees receive will vary according to
a formula that factors in tenure and seniority.
According to Kelly, the ’vast majority’ of current Applied clients
(which include such heavy hitters as Oracle and AltaVista) are
represented in the pool. In the future, participation by clients will be
a requirement of working with Applied, ’with very few exceptions,’ he
Applied client Sheryl Ross, senior director of corporate marketing for
STC, said she was happy to contribute equity to the program: ’I have a
strong belief that both the agency and client have a responsibility to
maintain great employees on an account.’
FitzGerald is still ironing out details of its plan, according to CEO
Maura FitzGerald. ’We’re creating a fund that enables the agency to
accept stock from certain clients and make the liquidity from trades in
that pool available to every one of our full-time employees,’ FitzGerald
Applied and FitzGerald’s plans reflect a growing trend in the Silicon
Valley region, where agencies compete heavily for prospective employees
with pre-IPO dot-coms offering stock options. Other firms reportedly on
the verge of introducing similar programs are Niehaus Ryan Wong and
Interactive Public Relations, which had a similar program before it
became part of the Omnicom network in 1998.