A new category for Evite…

June 14, 2007

images-13.jpeg Every time I look on Evite, there seems like some new type of event that you can send an invite too: a spa day, a divorce party, etc. But I’ve yet to see an Evite for a Wells notice, though one can only imagine the wording: Join us as we celebrate an enforcement action from the SEC. Open bar!

Yet, judging by the press release that Interpublic Group (IPG) put out this morning, you’d think that getting a Wells notice from the SEC was something to celebrate. Indeed, the idea that responding is not voluntary is missing from the release. Instead, Interpublic describes it as an “invite” and calls it as another step in the settlement process.

The spin doesn’t end there. The release goes on to quote Chairman and CEO Michael Roth, who notes that “Given our understanding of new procedures at the SEC, this development is not unanticipated and we believe that it moves us a step closer to resolution in this matter.”

Granted, this issue dates back to a $500 million restatement from 2002 and 2005 and the company has said that it has fixed many of those problems, including getting rid of mid-level employees who the company says was responsible and improving both transparency and corporate governance. But to describe a Wells notice as voluntary — like your decision to show up at the neighborhood BBQ — is more than a bit over the top.

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