Gotlieb to head new WPP buying unit in North America

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WPP Group, London, announced that MindShare, the combining of the media operations of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and J. Walter Thompson Co., is officially launching in the U.S. under the leadership of Irwin Gotlieb, who's been named both chairman-CEO of MindShare in the U.S. and worldwide chairman-CEO of MindShare.

Mr. Gotlieb, 50, is resigning his post as president-CEO of the MacManus Group's MediaVest Worldwide, and begins his MindShare post Sept. 13. He will be based in New York.

The move has huge ramifications for the world's largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble Co., as well as MediaVest. P&G is MediaVest's largest client, having parked its billion-dollar U.S. TV account there, and now that agency's top executive is defecting to a major media player for archrival Unilever.

Furthermore, Rino Scanzoni, MediaVest's chief national TV buyer, already had rocked the MediaVest and P&G boat by announcing that he's also leaving by yearend. There's some speculation that Mr. Scanzoni eventually may rejoin Mr. Gotlieb at MindShare.

To stablize MediaVest, MacManus is bringing Mike Moore, former exec VP-director of media development, out of retirement to run MediaVest on an interim basis.

WPP Chief Executive Martin Sorrell has been trying to bring MindShare to the U.S. for a number of years now, and it has been an open secret that WPP has been actively looking to fill the worldwide and U.S. posts for the last eight to 12 months.

The announcement of Mr. Gotlieb as chief of MindShare's forthcoming U.S. operations caused immediate consternation among media executives at O&M and JWT, some of whom have been jockeying for that post. It's possible the Mr. Gotlieb eventually will name a president of U.S. operations for MindShare.

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