Y&R prepares to consolidate its media units

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Young & Rubicam is readying a consolidation of its media units, with Beth Gordon, president of its Media Edge operation, expected to head up the overall division.

The new unit probably will keep the Media Edge name, and Bob Igiel, exec VP-director of broadcast for Y&R Advertising, will likely head up buying, reporting to Ms. Gordon.


The arrangement under discussion will keep three planning divisions separate under the umbrella unit. The three divisions would consist of representatives of Media Edge, Y&R and Wunderman Worldwide.

The joining of Media Edge with Y&R has been expected since the parent acquired Media Edge for about $3.5 million from N.W. Ayer & Partners one year ago.

With the combination of the units, Y&R will be able to focus its enormous media clout even more effectively. Including Media Edge's billings, Y&R buys more than $2 billion annually in media time and space.


Media Edge, which handles about $300 million in ad placement for primary client AT&T Corp., recently picked up the $90 million Glaxo Wellcome media account.

Mike Samet, Y&R's exec VP-director of media and new technology, is expected to focus most of his energies on interactive media.

Neither Ms. Gordon nor Mr. Igiel could be reached; Mr. Samet declined comment about the new arrangement.

Aaron Cohen, Media Edge's exec VP-national broadcast & programming director, is expected to remain in that capacity. Diane Spencer, Y&R's exec VP-communications planning, is expected to head up print, outdoor and research.

Maggie Ross, Y&R's senior VP-director of local broadcast and network radio, will likely keep those responsibilities.


"The only question I think most of us in media have is what took them a year to do this," said a top media executive at another agency.

"It makes all the sense in the world. Depending on how they leverage it internally, it gives them a lot of strong media players sharing ideas."

With the speculation that at some point Y&R will go public, it's possible the consolidation makes for a cleaner balance sheet, said a media manager at a competing agency.

Copyright July 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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