He built the world's largest agency holding company with a big idea, borrowed money and went on a buying binge on a scale the industry had never seen. Ad Age called him "arguably the agency world's most innovative empire builder of the 20th century." But suddenly, three decades after he began, he was out of a job.
The man in question is Marion Harper Jr., who in 1961 morphed McCann Erickson into the first major agency company, Interpublic.
"McCann Erickson has reorganized again," Ad Age wrote at the time, "with the establishment of a new parent company, Interpublic Inc.," overseeing two agencies, McCann Erickson and McCann-Marschalk Co. "Interpublic, the new corporate umbrella, will provide the affiliate companies with management and financial guidance and central services such as personnel and accounting."