The Player: McCann's Senecal named to lead agency's accounts

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Lori Senecal, newly promoted to director of account management at Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, is something of a renaissance woman-her extracurricular interests include oil painting and creative writing. Those eclectic interests speak to the variety in her worklife, where she now manages a nearly 200-person account management operation and oversees such key accounts as Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox, Labatt USA, Sprint Corp. and Kohl's.

"What I find fun is variety and challenge and each of the businesses I've worked on has offered a unique challenge," said the 37-year-old native of Canada. In her new role, Ms. Senecal said her goal is to champion the interests of the account groups at the agency.

up the ranks

Ms. Senecal began her advertising career working on the Ford Motor Co. account at WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, Toronto, after getting her degree in marketing from McGill University. She has spent 11 years at McCann, starting out in the agency's Toronto office where she ran the Molson Breweries business. Ms. Senecal headed to McCann, New York, as a senior strategic planner four years ago, then shifted to account management on the Sprint business. She rose through the ranks to senior VP-group managing director and was named exec VP in 2000 working on Coca-Cola Co., Nestle, and Molson.

Beer is something of a constant for Ms. Senecal and remains in the picture. For Labatt USA, she and her team led a successful repositioning of the Rolling Rock brand. "It was premium without pretense," she recalled, which sat well with the client.

"Lori really helped drive a process that carved out a position for Rolling Rock as a trade-up [brand]," said David van Wees director of marketing for domestic specialty beers at Labatt USA. "Lori's got a very good strategic vision, but she's also very strong at making sure that her team is executing on all levels from account management to creative development," he said.


"She's got a relentless work ethic and she's also got some good chutzpah," Mr. van Wees added, recalling a couple of instances where Ms. Senecal argued strenuously for her and the agency's position: "She's a bit of a tiger. ... At the same time she will aggressively pursue making things right."

On the Sprint local business, Ms. Senecal is proud of trying to move the needle in real-time with direct response media. "We were able to really accelerate acquisition and increase the quality of customers," she said. Xbox continues to be a stunning opportunity to create a contemporary brand.

Leading with bold ideas is Ms. Senecal's currency of choice. "I have always been really focused on increasing the quality of our ideas. ... In this economy, our clients are facing bigger challenges than ever, that's why we have to give them bigger ideas."

Fast Facts

Name: Lori Senecal

Age: 37

Title: Director of account management, McCann-Erickson, New York

Challenge: Constantly improving the quality of ideas brought to clients

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