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Cook named chairman of merged D'Arcy/Leo Burnett

LONDON – Barry Cook, the D'Arcy managing director, is to become chairman of a merged D'Arcy and Leo Burnett London.

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News that the two London offices are to be merged was revealed in Campaign yesterday. The news followed the announcement that Publicis Groupe was to close D'Arcy and fold parts of its business into its Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi networks, following the completion of its $3bn (£1.9bn) acquisition of the Bcom3 group.

Cook will run the merged London agency with Leo Burnett Group chief executive Bruce Haines. Keeping Cook was seen as essential to maintain the merged agency's relationship with COI. The agency said other members of the new management team are set to be announced shortly.

Publicis Groupe chairman Maurice Levy said: "D'Arcy and Burnett look like a reasonable fit in London."

Levy would not be drawn on job losses, but with two management teams merging they are sure to come. The agency has said that while the aim of the merger is to increase efficiencies it is hoped that any job losses will be kept to a minimum. The bulk of any cuts are sure to come from D'Arcy's 200 staff, with support and backroom personnel set to suffer most.

Sources suggest that long-time D'Arcy creative director Nick Hastings is unlikely to join, while planning director John Poorta is likely to find a place in the new set-up. However, it is unclear how he would work with Burnett's head of planning, Miranda Forestier-Walker.

In a statement, the agency said: "Haines and Cook have pledged themselves to work hard and fast to minimise disruption to clients, who have all been informed of the changes. While discussions are still taking place with certain international clients over the best group company destination for their business, the majority of D'Arcy clients have been consulted and have expressed support. Clients have been assured that key members of their agency team will be offered jobs with Leo Burnett."

The marriage between D'Arcy and Burnett produces no account clashes and both agencies are Procter & Gamble and COI Communications roster shops. It remains unclear how D'Arcy's P&G business will be reassigned, although Publicis, Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi will benefit.

Luca Lindner, the president and chief executive of D'Arcy's Europe, Middle East and Africa operations, is in discussions about an alternative role.

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