As part of the changes, Candace Robbins has returned to GM as GMC merchandising manager, ending a highly unusual five-year stint as general manager of McCann/SAS. During that time, she remained on the GM payroll while "on loan" to the agency.
$120 MIL AT SAS
McCann/SAS handles some $120 million in national and regional-dealer business for GMC. Including that, McCann's Troy, Mich., office handles an estimated $350 million. The roster includes Buick, the GM Card and Delphi Automotive Systems.
"We're going to apply what we learned with that experience to the whole organization," said Sean Fitzpatrick, exec VP in charge of McCann's worldwide GM business. That means maintaining a close working relationship in which McCann will act as a general contractor, generating ideas and coordinating communications services even when they involve non-McCann companies.
JAY INC. ACQUIRED
In a related move, McCann parent Interpublic Group of Cos. acquired Jay Inc., a Rochester, N.Y.-based shop with $50 million in billings, most of it from 40 Buick regional ad groups.
While Jay will remain separate from McCann, the acquisition opens the way for closer cooperation between the two.
Mr. Fitzpatrick said McCann/SAS will retain its name for now but non-account departments like personnel and traffic will be folded into McCann-Erickson. With Ms. Robbins returning to GM, Exec VP Richard Hill will be general manager for both McCann-Erickson and McCann/SAS.
NEW 'BRAND CHAMPIONS'
In the restructuring, McCann has appointed "brand champions" to oversee "megabrands." Senior VP Ander Wensberg supervises Buick; Senior VP Michael Porter manages GMC; Senior VP Marianne Fey manages retail business for Buick and GMC; Managing Director Brier Neel supervises the GM Card; and Senior VP Ron Buckhammer oversees total communications.
Reporting to the brand champions will be seven new brand groups, which will also work with GM brand managers.