C&B founders Moore, Webster exit

SAN FRANCISCO: Following the departure of two of the agency’s founding partners in recent weeks, the changing of the guard at the firm formerly known as Copithorne & Bellows seems to be complete.

SAN FRANCISCO: Following the departure of two of the agency’s founding partners in recent weeks, the changing of the guard at the firm formerly known as Copithorne & Bellows seems to be complete.

SAN FRANCISCO: Following the departure of two of the agency’s

founding partners in recent weeks, the changing of the guard at the firm

formerly known as Copithorne & Bellows seems to be complete.



The hi-tech agency, which became part of the newly created Porter

Novelli Convergence Group (PNCG) on January 1, recently saw the exits of

Rich Moore, a lead partner in San Francisco who helped launch C&B in

1988, and Mel Webster, a senior partner who established the firm’s East

Coast operations nearly 11 years ago. With the departure of Bill Bellows

in 1998 - he’s now heading up a start-up called Simplexity - only PNCG

managing director David Copithorne remains from the original C&B

quartet.



Copithorne downplayed the significance of the defections. ’This has been

a very gradual transition - (Moore and Webster) had scaled back their

duties significantly over the past several months - and so it wasn’t any

kind of a surprise,’ he explained. He also stressed that he isn’t going

anywhere: ’I have been completely involved in driving the merger and am

committed to staying the course as we grow and change.’



Moore said he is currently consulting with some start-ups and that he is

’in talks with Omnicom about possibly doing something for them. I have

known for a while that I wanted to do something else.’



Like Moore, Webster denied the PN merger had anything to do with his

exit. He said that his first priority is to take some time off this

summer to spend with his children, and hinted that another

entrepreneurial venture might be in the cards: ’Once you have started a

company, the bug has bitten.’



Despite assertions to the contrary, rumors persist that the C&B/PN

transition has been a rocky one. For example, the AltaVista account,

which C&B won in a ferociously competitive pitch last August, has been

shifted out of PNCG and into PN/San Francisco. Also, prior to the merger

last fall, C&B suffered a handful of client setbacks, with

Hewlett-Packard scaling back its long-standing relationship with the

firm and FileNet shifting its account to Ink, a media relations

specialist boutique.



On the other hand, PNCG did land the dollars 1 million Novell account

last month and continues to work with major players like Qualcomm and

EMC. Copithorne said the firm, which brought in about dollars 40 million

in hi-tech revenue in 1999, is projecting fee income in excess of

dollars 50 million this year.



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