The Player: Tech veteran tapped to lead integration at Publicis unit

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As chief marketing officer for Tonic Software, a Web-application software startup, Debbie Yount made 33 presentations to venture capitalists in three months. She quickly learned that VCs know precious little about marketing. Last summer, when her modest $6 million marketing budget was cut, Ms. Yount began consulting with startups on their often-nonexistent business plans.

Now the marketing veteran of agencies including Bozell Technology Group and Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, as well as clients such as Iberia Airlines of Spain, takes on the newly created position of chief operating officer of Publicis Groupe's Publicis Dialog, New York. Ms. Yount, 49, will oversee all Dialog marketing disciplines-direct marketing, sales promotion, public relations, Internet marketing and investor relations. Her mission is to make sure all elements in Publicis Dialog's marketing mix are working in tandem. "My job will really be to continue to pull these together from a multidisciplinary planning approach," Ms. Yount said. "Clients want and need a single point of contact."

She will report to Andy Hopson, president-chief operating officer of Publicis Dialog in the U.S. "Debbie's strong entrepreneurial bent and extensive brand and business expertise are a perfect fit for Publicis," he said. She'll also work closely with Doug McMahon, chairman-CEO, Publicis, New York.

The Publicis Dialog unit launched in 1998 and espouses Publicis Groupe Chairman-CEO Maurice Levy's "holistic" communications mantra of integrated marketing and communications. The notion is easier buzzed about in theory than executed in practice. "Bigger [ad] networks have bigger roadblocks," Ms. Yount maintains. "All agencies have offered the various disciplines from an independent, autonomous view, but it's harder to plan and get disciplines working together at large global networks."

Ms. Yount knows a thing or two about integration, having worked on integrated programs as senior partner-general manager for Poppe Tyson, coordinating off- and online programs for Toshiba America Information Systems' computer systems division, among other marketers. When Poppe merged with Bozell Worldwide, she became managing director of Bozell Technology Group in Irvine, Calif.

"New business was her strength," said Dave Tutin, managing partner of darkGrey, the tech/telecom practice within Grey. Mr. Tutin, also an executive creative director, worked with Ms. Yount when she was an exec VP-global account director at Grey on the Oracle Corp. business. "She's a good bridge between the heads of agencies and the people who actually do the work."

Ms. Yount will actively prospect for new business to add to Publicis' client stable, which includes Voice-stream and Nestle.

Fast Facts

Name: Debbie Yount

Age: 49

Now: Chief operating officer, Publicis Groupe's Publicis Dialog, New York

Challenge: To foster integration among the various marketing disciplines within Publicis and to snare new business.

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