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Razorfish Taps MediaCom's Vik Kathuria for Top Media Role

All Eyes on Senior Talent at Omnicom and Publicis as the Rivals Plan to Merge

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The talent battle between WPP and soon-to-merge rivals Publicis and Omnicom continues as Razorfish poached MediaCom's Vik Kathuria.

Mr. Kathuria, most recently head of digital investment at WPP's MediaCom, will assume the role of global media chief at the Publicis Groupe digital shop. He fills a role left vacant since Jeff Lanctot, the first person to serve as the shop's media chief, departed for the ad-tech world last summer. Before joining MediaCom in 2008, Mr. Kathuria was senior VP of digital media for OMD and served in senior global marketing positions at Citigroup in New York and PepsiCo in Singapore. He started his career in investment banking and trading with Goldman Sachs in London.

"Razorfish's media practice is excelling at a time when many agencies in its position are stagnant," said Mr. Kathuria in a statement.

In the role, he'll be responsible for leading Razorfish's 300 media employees and driving digital media strategy. New business and management of the shop's media business internationally, which has grown "significantly," also will be a major focus, said Razorfish CEO Pete Stein via email.

"Since my promotion to global CEO of Razorfish, there has been an increasing demand from our clients to provide guidance on how to navigate the rapidly evolving media landscape," said Mr. Stein in an email. Mr. Stein was promoted to global CEO last July. "Razorfish is very involved in two key areas in particular: programmatic (platform- and data-driven) media that's highly automated and optimized, and custom opportunities and partnerships with major digital audience platforms (Google, FB, Twitter, etc.). Both present unique, rapidly evolving opportunities that we believe are complementary. Vik will help drive activity in and across both spheres."

The hire comes on the heels of the planned merger between Publicis and Omnicom, which has led competitors like WPP to talk about how the merger would surely cause an exodus of talent. Despite a handful of senior staffers that have left Publicis and Omnicom for WPP and other holding companies, the groups continue to pluck talent from their competitors.

Omnicom recently tapped Peter Sherman, CEO of WPP's JWT North America, as exec VP, reporting to CEO John Wren.

As with Mr. Sherman, who left WPP shortly after receiving a promotion, Mr. Kathuria was also recently promoted. MediaCom in December bumped him up from managing partner and exec VP-digital investments and trading for MediaCom U.S., to global head of digital investment for MediaCom Worldwide.

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