Robert Riesenberg, a TV production and programming veteran who once worked at BBDO Worldwide, has been named senior VP-broadcasting and programming for the soft-drink giant's account.
McCann said Mr. Riesenber will report to William Cella, the exec VP-broadcasting and programming who oversees the agency's $350 million U.S. Coca-Cola account.
Executives close to the agency said McCann will groom Mr. Riesenberg as the eventual successor to Mr. Cella. He is in line to replace Joel Segal, exec VP-national broadcast director. Mr. Segal is expected to retire within the next few years.
A CRITICAL HIRE
The hire is a critical one for McCann, which in recent years has lost a variety of Coke assignments around the globe while retaining the plum U.S. buying account. In May, Coke consolidated all its U.S. media planning at D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, the nation's largest network TV buyer, fueling speculation that media buying might follow.
A card in McCann's favor has been a strong relationship between Mr. Cella and Coke executives. The search for his eventual replacement lasted at least seven months.
Since 1988, Mr. Riesenberg has worked outside the agency business, on his own and with a production company, Mal-tese Productions. He has produced a number of TV specials, usually with big advertisers as production partners or backers. That was his forte at BBDO, where he worked in the mid-'80s and produced special programming for clients including Chrysler Corp.
Currently, Mr. Riesenberg has his own company in New York, RER Communications.