Curt Hecht

Chief Digital Officer, Starcom Mediavest Group

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Starcom MediaVest Group's Curt Hecht is the guy who gave General Motors Corp. the map it used to drive much of its $4.4 billion annual advertising budget toward new media.
  • Bridges traditional and cutting-edge

  • Helped GM embrace search marketing

"Curt has been able to help us put together logical road maps," says Betsy Lazar, executive director for advertising and media operations at GM. "He's an expert in traditional media who also happens to be a technology expert."

Mr. Hecht, 39, now SMG's chief digital officer, joined Leo Burnett in 1989 to work on traditional campaigns for marketers such as McDonald's and United Airlines. In 1998 he was tapped to lead the agency's San Francisco office, an assignment that put him at the forefront of the tech boom.

After the tech bubble burst, Mr. Hecht was assigned to GM, where he built a digital team on the auto giant's newly consolidated media account. In the years since, he's prodded GM to test new media technology.

That's led to a number of advances at GM, including the wholesale embrace of search marketing by its notoriously tough-to-sway dealer groups, as well as a new push into video-on-demand capabilities.

"He's an advocate of testing early, so you're high on the learning curve when some of these technologies move at scale," Ms. Lazar says.

Mr. Hecht is a cycling nut and bikes 18 miles to and from work each day. He insists, however, that he hasn't used any of the performance-enhancing drugs that have tarred his favorite sport's reputation. "I'm clean," Mr. Hecht says. "That's why I never win."
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