Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Nice work

The ad world is home to many creative souls. Marco Benatti is one of them but critics can't quite agree if his concepts are original. Overstating performance numbers, hiding ownership in companies while recommending them as acquisition targets -- it's been done before, right?

So maybe his genius is in the details: "After WPP CEO Martin Sorrell went to Milan to fire him on Jan. 9, WPP began its scrutiny, bringing in three Italian law firms—including one specializing in criminal law....Since then, the dispute has taken unexpected twists: WPP's Italian headquarters in Milan were broken into on the weekends of Jan. 14 and Jan. 21, with Benatti's office the focus."

That's brilliant. I wasn't expecting a flair for Nixonian intrigue, were you? There's also a mysterious company-paid apartment and, delightfully, this: WPP COO Daniella "Weber (whom Benatti described in the release as 'my pupil and assistant for 23 years') also had personal relationships with Benatti and Sorrell."

Wait a minute. You don't think...yes, yes, it seems that Ms. Weber might be the real creative genius here.

Madame, I salute you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


WPP exec sues Sunday Times over Benatti story

Dominic Timms
Wednesday March 8, 2006

The chief operating officer of WPP's Italian arm is suing the Sunday Times over allegations she had a relationship with Marco Benatti, the former WPP country manager dismissed for alleged financial irregularities in January.
Daniela Weber, who runs WPP Italian business, is taking libel action against the paper over two articles published in January and February this year claiming damages and false privacy against the paper.

The two reports, "Lawyers probe Italian job at Sorrell's WPP" and "Benattigate Takes A New Twist as Ousted Italian Sues WPP," contained allegations that the Swiss born 43-year old enjoyed a relationship with Mr Benatti, which she denies.

On Sunday, the paper ran a printed apology on page 2 of its business section, apologising for the reports and apologising for "the distress and embarrassment caused".

But following a ruling handed down last year, Ms Weber is pressing ahead with her libel claim that includes damages for false privacy.

In the case of Canadian folk singer Lorreena McKennitt v. Neima Ash, Justice Eady said people - including those in the public eye - were entitled to "significant protection of privacy" including relationships with other people and regardless of the validity of the nature of the information published.

In a claim filed in London, Ms Weber is seeking false privacy under the ruling, damages, aggravated damages, compensation under the Data Protection Act, costs and an injunction preventing the paper from running the stories again.

Mr Benatti left WPP after a stand-off with chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell over claims for a commission payment connected to an acquisition by the advertising agency group.

After firing Mr Benatti, Sir Martin ordered an investigation into the way WPP's Italian arm did business. Sources close to the inquiry say it uncovered serious irregularities.

But Mr Benatti has vigourously denied the claims and argued that WPP had no justification for sacking an employee under whose guidance its Italian operations grew spectacularly.

· To contact the MediaGuardian newsdesk email editor@mediaguardian.co.uk or phone 020 7239 9857