WPP declines to merge PR firms

NEW YORK: WPP has decided against merging Cohn & Wolfe and GCI, instead creating an internal entity overseeing both firms.

NEW YORK: WPP has decided against merging Cohn & Wolfe and GCI, instead creating an internal entity overseeing both firms.

A statement from WPP read, "It has been determined that keeping these two strong and vital brands independent is the best outcome for clients, and that was the controlling issue."

Sources close to the company recently disclosed that talks were held about merging the two entities. (PRWeek, April 11) The holding company confirmed today that the merger had been considered and rejected.

Cohn & Wolfe will remain a subsidiary of Young & Rubicam Brands, with Imperato remaining CEO, and GCI will continue to be part of the Grey Global Group, which WPP acquired in September 2004.

The holding company announced that Donna Imperato, CEO of Cohn & Wolfe, will lead the new entity, as yet unnamed. The position was created so that Imperato could more easily share her leadership experiences from running Cohn & Wolfe with the executive team at GCI.

In related news, Jeff Hunt has assumed the GCI CEO position, replacing Bob Feldman, who is heading to DreamWorks Animation SKG to become its first head of corporate communications. Hunt was previously president of GCI Latin America. He will remain in Texas.

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