Agency strategy: Deutsch changes executive roles

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Only a week after winning its first non-U.S. business, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch has named eight senior executives as partners, a move that agency Chairman-CEO Donny Deutsch calls "setting a foundation for future growth."

The eight partners, all of whom become part of Deutsch's 14-person management team, are split between the agency's New York and Los Angeles offices, and the appointments indicate Deutsch is poised for international expansion. The five Manhattan-based partners are: Peter Gardiner, 45, formerly exec VP-director, media services, now chief media officer; Fred Rubin, 48, formerly exec VP-director, iDeutsch, now director, iDeutsch and directDeutsch; Bobbi Casey Howell, 50, former exec VP-director of directDeutsch, now director-customer and data strategy. In addition to the title of partner, Nina Werner, 57, retains the title of chief financial officer; and Jeffrey Wolf, 48, keeps the title of director-account planning.

Executives on the West Coast trading the title of exec VP for partner are: Jeffrey Blish, 53, director-account planning; Kristin Bloomquist, 41, director-account management; and Colleen Kelley, 38, director-media planning.

"This is the group that has really been driving the agency and those who will continue to do so," Mr. Deutsch said.

reflective approach

Three of the group also take new titles to more accurately reflect their responsibilities. Mr. Rubin, who joined Deutsch in 2000 to lead the agency's interactive operations, now assumes oversight of direct marketing, formerly territory managed by Ms. Casey Howell. "Many of the principles that apply to interactive also apply to direct marketing," said Linda Sawyer, Deutsch chief operating officer, who led the new organizational structure (see related story, P. 56). "Fred's got expertise in both areas, and he will make sure that one strategy is applied in both areas." Handing direct-marketing account management oversight to Mr. Rubin allows Ms. Casey Howell to focus on data strategy. "There's an opportunity for us to mine data and to do more for clients strategically," said Ms. Sawyer.

Finally, at the same time he becomes a partner, Mr. Gardiner's functional title changes to chief media officer. "He's really made media buying and planning a big part of our integrated offering and has come up with very different types of media partners," said Ms. Sawyer, referring to a recently announced deal with "All My Children" to integrate Deutsch client Revlon into the plot of the soap opera, which runs on Walt Disney Co.'s ABC.

regional growth

Deutsch is also growing regionally, as illustrated by its new Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada account. To manage the Toronto and Montreal operations, the agency has hired Robert Morand, currently VP-brand direction at McLaren McCann, Toronto. "From the moment he entered the room, he had an energy that was indescribably right" for Deutsch, said Mike Sheldon, managing partner, Deutsch LA, and Mr. Morand's boss. Hiring Mr. Morand, and naming partners, "is about where we want to take the agency," said Mr. Sheldon.

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