IPG Fixing Problems, Moving Forward

InterPublic Group (IPG) is fixing its accounting problems and focusing on its competitive position, according to remarks by CEO Michael Roth at today's AdForum Worldwide Summit 2005 session. Roth reported that IPG expected to file its financial statements next week, "absent any unusual event between now and then" and assured the group that the company's people and brands had not been neglected while the accounting issues were being addressed.

"Are our networks getting the resources they need to be competitive? 'Absolutely!'" Roth said. Sharing part of his presentation to banks, Roth explained that IPG's problems were a matter of process, not performance, and the firm's financial position remains strong even though its revenue growth has lagged the industry recently. Cost containment plans to improve profit margins are now being executed. The company is recruiting top talent who embrace vision of providing clients with integrated service. "The number one criterion for new hires is their ability to work well with others," Roth commented.

After reviewing management changes at McCann, Lowe and FCB (Foote, Cone & Belding), Roth highlighted some recent wins at these agencies. He explained how the combination of Initiative and Universal into the new IPG Media would benefit clients and spotlighted several of IPG's unique assets such as Draft, Jack Morton, R/GA, Octagon and strong independents. "Integrated offerings are essential to compete today," Roth said, "and all our networks have all these resources available to them."

Roth emphasized IPG's commitment to transparent business practices for all clients worldwide. "You can't win with a business model where you make money from things your clients don't know about," he said.

The CEO summed up his action plan in four points: "Fix the financials and get more competitive. Promote internal collaboration for the benefit of our clients. Improve profit margins and organic growth. Invest in talent."