Ms. Herbst-Brady will be charged with leading the progression of Magna from a broadcast-negotiations unit into an intelligence-gathering, analysis and negotiations unit covering all media delivery platforms including print, digital, radio and TV. She told Ad Age the process won't be easy but that it's also filled with opportunity.
"The challenge is that there is a lot of information to bring together," she said. "There are lots of different people and areas, and each has a discreet role for any particular client, and understanding [that role] in its discreet function and understanding how everything works together -- these are the things we are going to be looking at. The insight that's gained by being able to look at everything across all the different Interpublic brands, then taking the information and turning it into intelligence is really the opportunity here."
To help do that, Ms Herbst-Brady said, "I'm going to talk to everyone who is there and get their point of view. It's going to be a collaborative and iterative process."
Understanding a shifting marketplace
She said the progression of Magna reflects an understanding by Interpublic that the marketplace is "changing and shifting" and that the holding company wants people at the forefront who understand those shifts and what they mean. "It's a sign of a very forward-thinking management team and one of the reasons I wanted to come here," she said.
She replaces Bill Cella, who ran Magna as chairman-CEO and moved on to Interpublic sibling shop DraftFCB in October 2006. (He left DraftFCB in December 2007.) Ms. Herbst-Brady will report to Tim Spengler, president of Initiative, and Mary Gerzema, president of Universal McCann.
Ms. Herbst-Brady said she is expecting the unexpected in her return to agency life. "Will there be challenges? Of course there will be," she said. "Things change every single moment. This is a very exciting business, and there are certain things that we understand really well, and then there are other questions we seek to answer. And in this new role, I think there's the opportunity to try and answer them while bringing additional value to not only the agency but the clients they represent."