Player Profile: Goldstone thinks globally for Euro RSCG Healthcare

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When Hoffmann-La Roche launched a review for its Xenical account last year, Mark Goldstone, then a senior executive at contender Jordan McGrath Case & Partners, opted to give the weight-loss drug a try. But it wasn't just run-of-the-mill research.

The drug had received considerable notoriety and became the subject of water cooler snickering because of possible side effects including "gas or oil with discharge [and] increased bowel movements-an urgent need to have them and an inability to control them."

Mr. Goldstone, now director of development for Euro RSCG Healthcare, New York, experienced no gastrointestinal hell, and the former London pharmacist said he lost "half a stone" (7 pounds) on the drug.

Jordan ended up losing out to WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, but Mr. Goldstone's chutzpah provides a window into what makes him successful.

Even though he oversees a network of some 44 agencies in 17 countries that requires him to think globally, Mr. Goldstone's more than willing to act locally to strengthen the network with $181 million in gross income. He recently flew to Switzerland to orchestrate a pitch when the lead person got sick. During the finals of a recent new-business competition back home, he spent an evening with the prospective clients-taking a cooking class.

DYNAMIC SHIFT

Mr. Goldstone, 38, assumes his post at a time of changing dynamics. The agency network last month tapped two industry legends to essentially serve as Mr. Goldstone's bosses as co-chairmen of Euro RSCG Healthcare: Sander Flaum, who will also remain as chairman-CEO of Robert A. Becker/Euro RSCG, New York, and Ron Pantello, who will remain as CEO of Lally, McFarland & Pantello/Euro RSCG, New York. "They keep me on my toes big-time," said Mr. Goldstone.

And in the industry at large, Wall Street continues to play a more prominent role. "[Drug companies] need not only billion-dollar drugs, but billion-dollar drugs this year," Mr. Goldstone said. With so much at stake, pharmaceutical giants may be less willing to take risks by hiring small specialist shops and thus increasingly turn to large global networks.

As a result, Euro needs to be on the lookout for ways to grow via mergers and acquisitions. "We clearly have to have an aggressive acquisition strategy," he said. Moreover, in the faltering economy, health care is still viewed by agency holding companies as a strong growth spot, placing increased focus on Mr. Goldstone's team.

Belfast native Mr. Goldstone worked at Becker before moving to Jordan McGrath, now part of Havas' Arnold Worldwide network. After his stint as a pharmacist, he accepted an offer from S.G. Warburg to become an industry analyst. But days before his start, the 1987 stock market crash hit and he was told not to bother coming in.

He wound up doing some freelance copywriting, parlaying that into a position as copywriter at The General Advertising Company of London Ltd.

Mr. Goldstone joined WCRS in London in 1989, where he built the healthcare operation that later became Euro RSCG Healthcare London. He crossed the Atlantic to join Becker in 1999, later moving to Jordan before assuming the network-wide management post in January.

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