Cordiant Communications will integrate its various worldwide advertising and marketing services operations under one management structure. The move follows the announcement that chief executive Michael Bungey will step down next March.

The four networks to have their operations consolidated will be advertising agency Bates Worldwide, branding and design agency Fitch, direct marketing outfit 141 Worldwide and specialist healthcare marketing brand Healthworld.

A spokesman for Cordiant’s UK operations says the company is already far down the line in integrating the divisions and does not plan redundancies at present.

Advertising agency Bates UK and 141 already report to one chief executive and share one bottom line. Bates, Fitch, 141 and Healthworld will be housed under one roof.

The restructuring at Cordiant follows a set of poor first-half-year results and the announcement that Bungey will step down to be replaced by Bates Worldwide chief executive David Hearn next March. The results showed a first-half net loss of £14.1m compared to a £9.6m loss for the same period last year.

An insider says that Bates Worldwide’s problems lie with its North American division, which has recently lost the accounts for restaurant chain Wendy’s and car manufacturer Hyundai Motors. He adds: “The business here and in Europe is doing as well as any other agency and is hitting budgets.”

A spokesman for Cordiant denies speculation that the company’s 25 per cent stake in Zenith-Optimedia Group is up for sale.

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