NEW YORK: Tom Nides? time in the PR agency world ended as abruptly as it began today as Burson-Marsteller announced that he was leaving after just 8 months as worldwide CEO.
The agency today confirmed a story on PRWeek.com that Nides would be returning to Morgan Stanley, where he was a principal in the late ?90s.
Speculation that Nides might depart the firm began last month after John Mack unexpectedly returned as CEO at MS. Mack is expected to repopulate the firm with old loyalists. Nides and Mack have worked together at several different financial companies, most recently Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) in 2004.
Nides, speaking from Italy, called the decision to leave ?excruciatingly difficult,? but the opportunity at MS ?spectacular.?
?No one thought this would happen,? he said, referring to Mack?s return to MS. ?Burson is a great firm with a great global footprint and all the assets you?d want in a global communications firm and much more. I?d be lying if I said this was easy.?
Nides, who had never before held a position with a PR agency, arrived at Burson in November of last year to succeed retiring CEO Chris Komisarjevsky. He was formerly global chief administrator with CSFB. He will now have the same title at MS.
The appointment of an industry outsider at such a senior level came as a surprise to an industry more accustomed to growing its own talent.
Nides denied his inexperience had any relation to the brevity of his tenure.
?I can?t talk about myself, but I connected to people in a good way and I never, ever, ever would have left it hadn?t been for this particular situation,? he said.
No successor has yet been named, and Nides said he?s promised WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell he?d remain with the firm as long as it took to find one.
EVP of PR Howard Paster said the search for a replacement was in the very early stages.
?Well John Mack's been at Morgan Stanley for exactly 10 days. I wouldn't say there's been much planning time. You have to look at this in the context of the remarkable series of events at Morgan Stanley, which nobody could have anticipated," he said.
"This is a loss, no question about it,? he added. ?But it's a manageable loss.?
A number of executives have received promotions during Nides? reign. Ken Reitz has become vice chairman and US CEO; Richard Mintz has taken over the agency?s new global development work; and Carlos Lareau has become agency COO.