Ammirati readies Lotito for key management role

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As Mike Lotito moves from chief media officer to executive director of account service at Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York, he's finding that a key to his agency's success is keeping the marketing acumen of clients in mind.

"Years ago, a great account manager was a general; today, a great account manager is a co-captain," he said. "The core captain is the client. In the past, the client didn't have those stripes."

His promotion also grooms Mr. Lotito for an expanded management role at Ammirati.

BIGGER THINGS AHEAD

"Mike is clearly one of the people we think at one point can assume a major management role at the agency," said Duncan Pollock, chairman-CEO of Ammirati's New York office. "He's got a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and it rubs off on the people and inspires the people around him. "

Mr. Lotito, 36, succeeds Mary Herrmann, who is reducing her employment to part-time as she and husband Martin Puris, worldwide agency chairman-CEO and chief creative officer, anticipate the adoption of a baby girl. Sean Cunningham and Lee Doyle, both previously group directors of media, will succeed Mr. Lotito, becoming co-media directors.

Mr. Lotito, who will retain his position as co-chairman of Ammirati's Worldwide Media Board, said he's received broad advertising exposure at Ammirati that has prepared him to take on the diverse responsibilities of account management.

Mr. Lotito joined Ammirati & Puris in 1985 as an associate media director and added responsibilities quickly. Two years after joining, he was promoted to media director, a position in which he helped to take the agency from $120 million in billings to $550 million prior to the agency's 1994 merger with Lintas' New York office. In Mr. Lotito's recent role as chief media officer, he was responsible for $1 billion in media buying annually.

EXPANDING HIS RANGE

In his account-service position, Mr. Lotito will expand his range.

"I now have a more front and center role," he said. "I'll be much more involved in making sure the work we do--creative and in other areas--is the best. I'll touch creative more than I ever have."

"I expect to spend 75% to 80% of my time in account management in New York, and use the other time on other worldwide issues," he said, adding that he'll stay close to his media responsibilities, including being responsible for worldwide strategic media planning.

His increased involvement follows some changes in the creative department. Mark Johnson and Tom Nelson were named co-creative directors of the New York office in September, with Mr. Johnson returning from Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, and Mr. Nelson moving back from the agency's Toronto office. Last month, Helayne Spivak, world-wide creative director-multinational accounts, left the shop for J. Walter Thompson Co., New York, and the creative team of Brent Bouchez and David Page also left Ammirati to join M&C Saatchi.

Mr. Lotito said the only big challenge for the agency post-merger is logistical, adding that staff has more than doubled.

Copyright November 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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