“The latter part of the fourth quarter and early part of 2009 have begun to show the negative effect that the broader economic situation is having on the marketing services sector,” said Michael Roth, chairman and chief executive of Interpublic.
But wait, what’s this? “Our long-standing conservative approach to financial and balance sheet management has us well positioned for these volatile times.” Would that be the self-same “conservative approach”, Michael, that your company was forced to adopt after an accountancy scandal which gave a new meaning to “double entry” book-keeping? Which resulted in several senior people in the McCann Erickson network being fired? Oh, and which precipitated a six-year long investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, poleaxing IPG’s share-price all the while? And, and, and…culminated in a $12m fine last year?
As it happens, I think Roth has got quite a few corporate talents, in his dull, lawerly way. And keeping the basket-case that was IPG from ruin, or the depredations of Vincent Bolloré and Sir Martin Sorrell, have shown them to good effect over the decade. One quality I hadn’t attributed to him, though, was irony. How unamerican of him.