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ZenithOptimedia unveils UK agency line-up

LONDON - ZenithOptimedia has unveiled its UK management line-up as the media-buying network completes its UK merger bringing together Optimedia and Zenith Media.

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The company's management is headed up by Simon Marquis as chairman of the UK operation, after he recently stepped aside to allow Antony Young to take over from him as chief executive. Young joined from ZenithOptimedia Asia, where he was also chief executive.

Reporting to Young as joint managing directors are Greg Turzynski, formerly of Optimedia, and Tim Greatrex, from Zenith Media.

The UK operation will remain in its two existing offices in London where they will continue to be based for the forseeable future, according to executive director Greg Grimmer.

The company will also keep its existing divisions in place for the different specialist areas in which it operates. These include Ninah, its investment modelling unit; Zed, its direct response and interactive media division; and its sponsorship operation Alliance. More Media and Equinox will continue to operate as full-service media agencies.

It will also continue to use Optimedia's Village service partnerships, which offers clients access to services from other companies including Bob Geldof's advertising and events company TenAlps and Unique Television.

ZenithOptimedia has recently won accounts from MBNA Bank and Wyeth Consumer Healthcare. However, towards the end of last year, as the merger was moving ahead, things did not end well for Zenith. It lost its AA and BT press buying accounts, believed to have been worth around £50m in billings.

The agency is part of holding company ZenithOptimedia Worldwide. The company is 75% owned by Publicis and 25% by Cordiant Communications. It came about after Publicis acquired 50% of Zenith when it took over Saatchi & Saatchi in summer 2000.

The merged company is believed to have overtaken Carat as the world's biggest media agency. According to MMS figures for last year, ZenithOptimedia had £697m in billings, while Carat billed £565m.

Grimmer said that the agency's priority in the merger was not necessarily to be the biggest. "We are far more interested in being the best, but if we're the best, then being the biggest will naturally follow."

ZenithOptimedia's clients include Sara Lee, Procter & Gamble, L'Oreal and British Airways.

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