Crafting new system

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After bringing together an all-star team to win GM's media-buying business, Starcom MediaVest is now building an infrastructure and a team to handle the business-a move that will likely include hiring some of a number of executives from Interpublic Group of Cos.' now-redundant GM Mediaworks unit.

GM Planworks, the dedicated unit of Publicis Groupe media arm Starcom, has already laid out the broad outlines of what the system will look like.

Planworks will keep broadcast buying in New York and magazine buying in Detroit. But it will shift spot-TV and national-radio buying to Chicago, which will report to Kevin Gallagher, senior VP-local broadcast investment for Starcom. He will appoint a deputy to oversee GM buying. All buyers will be dedicated to GM.

The agency also will establish buying hubs corresponding to GM's sales and marketing offices: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Detroit and Atlanta.

To ensure a smooth transition in broadcast buying, Planworks President Dennis Donlin will be splitting time between Detroit and New York City "indefinitely," Mr. Donlin said.

Mr. Donlin is overseeing the addition of buying after leading the pitch. Backing him up were Planworks Exec VP-Chief Operating Officer Mary Carpenter, Senior VP Curt Hecht and Exec VP-Strategic Research Jana O'Brien.

But others outside the agency participated in the pitch, including Publicis CEO Maurice Levy, Starcom CEO Jack Klues and Starcom Americas CEO Renetta McCann. John Muszynski, CEO of Starcom and a veteran buying exec, also participated in the pitch as did Mr. Gallagher.

One big question is how many people Planworks will hire from Mediaworks, the Interpublic agency that formerly handled buying. Mr. Donlin declined to comment on hiring plans. But he said Planworks would talk to Mediaworks employees who aren't moving within Interpublic.

One high-profile Mediaworks executive not expected to make the leap: Exec VP-Managing Director Linda Thomas Brooks. She declined to comment.

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