FD loses US head as it embarks on rebranding initiative

NEW YORK - Just two weeks before Financial Dynamics finally announced the agreement for its long-awaited buyout from Cordiant Communications, the recently appointed head of the agency's US operation quietly left the company.

The change comes as FD Morgen-Walke begins a several-month rebranding effort that will drop the names of long-departed founders Lynne Morgen and David Walke.

The departure of Anton Nicholas, who was promoted to CEO of FDMW in December, adds to a recent history of top management shuffles. His predecessor, Bob Jones, left after only a year in the position.

Nicholas' responsibilities have been absorbed by FD Ireland head Declan Kelly, who is now CEO and president of the US FD operation. "It was an amicable departure and Anton's personal decision to leave the firm," said a company spokesman, who declined to answer further questions about the exit.

The buyout, led by FD International chief executive Charles Watson and which was delayed by takeover bids for Cordiant, is worth $42m and was financed by Advent International, a global private equity firm. The management buyout is expected to close within the next few weeks, leaving FD's current and future employees with more than 40% of shares of the business.

The company's US leadership said the structure of the deal will bolster future plans to recruit employees here and at other points in its network.

"We do have equity available within the deal we have structured to be able to go out, recruit, and give them real shares, not options," Kelly said.

The company, whose US clients include GMAC, NTT America, Dice Inc. and Quovadx, will continue to be co-headquartered in London and New York. The New York office will soon be relocated.

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