Ms. Pool, J. Walter Thompson USA's exec VP-North America media services, continues to make bold moves. Case in point: She shocked many in the industry a few months ago when, in a restructuring of JWT's network TV buying division, Ms. Pool eliminated the high-ranking director of national broadcast post held by Jerry Dominus. Mr. Dominus, the former chief of ad sales at CBS, had left the network to come to the shop in 1991.
His responsibilities now will be handled by Detroit-based Ron Frederick, JWT's director of national sales. Mr. Frederick, whose main responsibility has been keeping client Ford Motor Co. happy, will now split his time between Detroit and New York.
`NOTHING WILL BE DIMINISHED'
Some of Ms. Pool's critics say that strategy is full of peril.
"Is Ford going to be happy with Frederick splitting his time, when they had his full attention before?" asks a competing media executive. "And what message does it give to Thompson's New York clients, who also only get half of Ron's attention?"
Ms. Pool doesn't flinch at the criticism: "That's ridiculous. Ron hasn't been the day-to-day guy. He focuses on relationships with clients and network strategy. Nothing will be diminished."
Ms. Pool, a 25-year JWT veteran and expert in spot TV, says she'll also now be much more involved in network TV.
"Two of my strengths are strategy and negotiation," she says of attributes she hopes to exploit in discussions about network TV planning and buying.
Another reason Ms. Pool restructured JWT's network TV unit was that she wanted to consolidate JWT's billion-dollar network buying strength, she says.
"I wanted to bring our three major offices, New York, Chicago and Detroit, together," Ms. Pool says. "They were connected by dotted lines, but the problem with dotted lines is the holes in between."
There has been some talk in the industry that what was really behind the JWT network restructuring is an eventual marriage between the media shops of JWT and its sister WPP Group agency, Ogilvy & Mather. Ms. Pool has also heard the talk, not least because WPP CEO Martin Sorrell has mentioned consolidating the media units of the two agencies in various other countries.
"There's been no talk of spinning off the two media units here" a la Cordiant's Zenith Media, Ms. Pool says.
Ms. Pool, one of four women on JWT's worldwide board of directors, doesn't know how far up the corporate ladder she might ascend. But with a stellar track record this last year alone, including adding Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. and Domino's Pizza, among others, it'll likely be near the top rung.
"Jean is one of the few people in media that gets it; that is, she's very smart, a great negotiator, is a global thinker and can anticipate what we should be doing with media," says Nancy Utley, exec VP-marketing at Twentieth Century Fox.