The chief financial officer of advertising giant Interpublic Group, which is the subject of a newly widened probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission, has stepped down. Robert Thompson had been CFO of the company for just a year; his successor, who will not be named until late July, will be Interpublic's fourth CFO in two years. In a statement, Interpublic chairman and chief executive Michael Roth said, "Bob and I have independently come to the conclusion that the next steps in our company's progress will require new financial leadership." The SEC, which had been investigating the company's accounting due to restatements made in 2002, recently expanded its probe to include its accounting for the many acquisitions that it made from 1996 through 2001, as well as for other issues. Interpublic has yet to file statements for 2004, citing material weaknesses in internal controls and the time required to complete its Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 report. It also suggested that it might have improperly consolidated the results of some of the companies it acquired, and might have to restate prior results.
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