NEW YORK: GCI CEO Bob Feldman confirmed on Tuesday that he is leaving the WPP agency to become the first head of corporate communications at DreamWorks Animation SKG (PRWeek, April 18).
Hours after Feldman's declaration, WPP announced that although a rumored merger between GCI and Cohn & Wolfe had been considered, the idea had been rejected in favor of creating an internal entity to oversee the two PR brands.
Jeff Hunt, previously president of GCI Latin America, will move into the CEO role. The company has not made a decision on his replacement.
C&W will remain a subsidiary of Young & Rubicam Brands, and GCI will continue to be part of the Grey Global Group, which WPP acquired in September.
C&W CEO Donna Imperato will oversee the new, unnamed internal entity.
"WPP has a defined way it runs its business, and [Imperato] will help me understand," Hunt said. "I view it as a gift to have someone who has operated so successfully at WPP to be there with me."
Imperato said the merger idea was abandoned because of potential client conflicts and a desire to maintain the separate focuses of the two agencies. "Cohn & Wolfe's [core] strength is in branding, while GCI is more of a corporate, public affairs agency," Imperato said.
She added that she already had been working with GCI for the past couple of months.
Feldman was approached by executive search firm Heyman Associates for the DreamWorks job around the time that Grey was acquired by WPP, but Feldman said the move was unrelated to the acquisition.
Hunt will remain in Texas. Feldman, who ran GCI from New York, is moving to Los Angeles.