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Interpublic appoints risk officer after accounts scandal

NEW YORK – Interpublic has taken the step of appointing what it is calling a chief risk officer in the wake of accounting scandals that have rocked the world's number two advertising group.

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The Interpublic Group of Companies has appointed Thomas Dowling, who is currently the group's senior vice-president for financial administration, as chief risk officer. He will report to Interpublic's chief financial officer, but on issues of financial controls where the company has recently run into so much trouble, he will also now report to the board of directors.

His appointment follows that of Art D'Angelo who joined from Cordiant Communications as McCann-Erickson WorldGroup's chief financial officer, following the uncovering of $181.3m (£115m) in overstated revenues at McCanns, which led to an SEC investigation and the restating of the past five year's figures.

Last month, Interpublic described its third-quarter results as "unacceptable" after reporting that revenues had fallen by 7.4% to $1.5bn, with net income of just $7.5m.

Interpublic said that Dowling will integrate the company's internal audit, compliance and other risk management functions. He will also lead the integration of the company's enterprise risk management functions, which include its internal auditing, under one umbrella and provide focused oversight and direction, which the company says will increase the effectiveness of all of the company's risk management activities.

Dowling joined Interpublic in 2000 as vice-president and general auditor. Prior to joining the group, Dowling held numerous financial positions during a 20-year career at Avon and was a senior auditor at Price Waterhouse in the mid-1970s.

Sean Orr, Interpublic's chief financial officer, said: "I am pleased to announce Tom's promotion. We are confident that under his leadership, our enterprise risk management process will reflect, and be responsive to, the requirements of a company as large and complex as Interpublic."

At the time of the group's result, chairman and chief executive John Dooner said: "As you would expect, with the restatement behind us, we can now focus all of our energy where it belongs, on our clients and our people, as well as financial imperatives such as margin improvement and strengthening our balance sheet."

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