WPP's MediaCom has hired Starcom's Alicia Lisowski as managing director and head of its Chicago office nine months after Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group issued a complaint regarding her non-compete, MediaCom told Ad Age.
The terms of the settlement, reached privately last summer, required that Ms. Lisowski go on leave for the nine-month period before assuming the position with the competitor.
Ms. Lisowski and MediaCom became the subjects of the complaint last June, when former employer Starcom MediaVest Group alleged that MediaCom had chosen to hire her "in an attempt to unfairly compete with [Starcom] and gain access to its business secrets," according to the complaint document. The Publicis agency network filed the complaint against Ms. Lisowski, whom it alleged was in violation of a non-compete.
The "business secrets" to which the complaint referred are related to her work for P&G, a client "for which SMG and MediaCom are consistently vying for business," according to the complaint document. At Starcom, Ms. Lisowski had served as senior VP and lead on the P&G North America Hair Care/Color portfolio. MediaCom works with P&G in various regions, including Latin America, Asia and Europe, but not in the U.S.
MediaCom U.S. CEO Sasha Savic said, "Since I joined the company as CEO in the U.S., I made personal quests to assemble the best possible team in the industry. My first choice and hire was Alicia." Mr. Savic had worked with Ms. Lisowski at SMG earlier in his career and, like his new hire, he had also worked closely with P&G on global assignments.
"Despite the fact that [others] can try to complicate these measures and try to postpone and make this as difficult as possible for companies like us, that's all well and fine. However, my determination to have the best people for MediaCom and to have unparalleled talent means we are also ready to do everything and anything to have these people," he added. "For the best people like Alicia, I'm willing to wait."
He emphasized the attractiveness of her diverse past experience. Before joining Starcom in 2005, she was marketing manager of global marketing and strategy at Navteq, which is now part of Nokia. Prior to taking on that role, she held positions at Giant Step Productions and Publicis' Leo Burnett.
"I'm very excited for the opportunity and grateful that the situation has been resolved," said Ms. Lisowski of her new role.
She replaces MediaCom and MEC vet Matt Schwach whose next role is not yet clear. "He did a great job with us," said Mr. Savic. "We have a mutual agreement with all parties involved that we're going to be refreshing the talent pool and moving forward." He added that Mr. Schwach will continue in his role in the short term and could potentially take on another role within WPP's media agency network Group M.