Mike Lotito, chief media officer of APL in New York, remembers being impressed when he met the 34-year-old ideas man, who at the time was managing director of 20/20 Media and executive media director of Bozell Worldwide.
"We were looking for a regional media director for Latin America," Mr. Lotito recalled, but realized that Mr. Woolmington "was way too senior for that post."
Hence, Mr. Lotito and Martin Puris, APL's chairman, chief executive and chief creative officer, fashioned a new job to fit the energetic Mr. Woolmington.
Said Mr. Puris: "We are pleased to have found [a] premier media professional who shares our philosophy of offering a branded, integrated and consistent media pro-duct of the highest quality across geographic markets."
Mr. Woolmington will play a crucial role in Mr. Puris' five-year plan to strengthen media in-house at APL's creative agencies and transform its European media network Initiative Media into a global brand. "Our media product is a little bit uneven," conceded Mr. Lotito. "Paul's role is to support the regional media folk to raise our media profile around the world."
Mr. Woolmington says he is thrilled about his new job: "Media is at the heart of the change [in advertising]. Everything is changing in the media environment. I'll be looking not just at today, but two to three years hence."
In addition to his global strategy job and role as supervisor of APL's strategic media planning directors, Mr. Woolmington will sit on a new worldwide media board with the network's worldwide media board co-chairmen, Mr. Lotito and Marie-Jose Forissier, worldwide chairman of Initiative Media, CFO Vince Lubrano and Vincent Negre, president of APL Europe. Mr. Woolmington also will be the media contact for five clients-Unilever, Nestle, Johnson & Johnson, MasterCard and BMW-owned Rover Cars, and he will pitch for global accounts.
BUSINESS EXPERIENCE A PLUS
"I'll be a businessman, not just an academic. In making media more important, you have to have a business hat on," Mr. Woolmington said.
He already is an experienced businessman. At 29, he helped found 20/20 Media-a strategic media joint venture between media independent CIA Group and Bozell. Sales and profits of 20/20 Media have more than doubled since the London-based group started in 1991. Mr. Woolmington was made executive media director of Bozell Worldwide in 1994, and the agency network uses 20/20 as its media brand in Europe.
"Whoever replaces Paul [at 20/20] will have big boots to fill," said Ben Hughes, worldwide advertisement sales director of the Financial Times, a Bozell client. He calls Mr. Woolmington "one of the bright things of the future."
Steve Heyer, president of Tur-ner Broadcasting Sales World-wide, is similarly positive. "Paul is creative and courageous. He's will-ing to try new things. He brings a global perspective to his job."