Nearly 10 months after the exit of Eric Keshin, former CEO of McCann's global production unit EXP, the Interpublic Group of Cos. agency has found a replacement.
Effective immediately, Fred Schuster -- who has been serving as CEO of a similar unit at WPP's Ogilvy, dubbed RedWorks -- will be taking over for Mr. Keshin, who is now on the client side at Hewlett-Packard. Mr. Schuster's hire is effective immediately and he will report to Nick Brien. In the post, he'll be responsible for overseeing production duties for global clients, which became a focus of cost-cutting especially during the recession.
"Fred has a tremendous amount of passion for his craft which is complemented by a brilliant understanding of the complexities surrounding global creative production and delivery," said McCann Chief Financial Officer Tara Comonte. "Fred's enthusiasm and knowledge make him the perfect person to take on this important role for our network."
Mr. Schuster most recently served as CEO of Ogilvy's global integrated creative and production firm, RedWorks -- a post he had since 2008. At EXP, he hopes to create a network of offshore production centers for McCann rather than choosing a single location to ship work off to: "Most of the competition I've seen has a chosen a destination ... and then they funnel all the resources to that place regardless of if it's a good fit or not. I believe in a much more networked approach. We like to talk about things in manufacturing terms, but this is a communication-service industry, so sometimes it makes sense to be close, and not far." As an example, he said if a client was shooting a campaign in London, there may be cost-saving achieved by shooting in Manchester, but still allowing a creative director to travel to the location to ensure the quality isn't comprised -- as opposed to sending off the creative product to somewhere in the middle of the ocean, or a dozen hours away. "The category is very difficult because I don't think the industry has yet to have a name for it, which I hope to define," Mr. Schuster said.
One of the primary reasons Mr. Schuster signed on is because of sweeping changes Mr. Brien is making at McCann, which have included an overhaul in senior management. "There's definitely something happening within McCann Worldgroup led by Nick, that you feel this change at a moment in time when everything is on the table to look at and improve. ... Acceptance is often the first barrier, and you have to accept that things need to change."