Mr. Klues, 49, long has been tipped for
Mr. Klues said there was "nothing imminent" as far as any promotion. But, he added, "I would like to believe Roger [Haupt, president and chief operating officer of Publicis] and Maurice [Levy, CEO of Publicis] sees that in my future."
Currently Starcom MediaVest and ZenithOptimedia report to Mr. Haupt. People close to the agency expect Mr. Haupt will step down in the near future, clearing the way for Mr. Klues to be promoted.
Mr. Haupt didn't return calls. Mr. Levy wasn't available for comment.
If Mr. Klues is promoted, he likely would be charged with looking at ways Publicis could leverage the strengths of both networks around the globe. Publicis led all holding companies with $34.4 billion in worldwide media billings in 2003; No. 2 WPP Group had $33.79 billion.
$34 billion in combined billings
Starcom MediaVest was the third-largest media agency, with $18.87 billion in worldwide billings; Zenith was No. 5 with $15.53 billion.
Publicis has "big [media] brands," said a Publicis agency executive. It needs to "take a look at brand architecture from the highest level and make ... decisions about how to play all [its] offerings."
In the past, Mr. Levy has said he wanted greater integration of its media agencies in areas such as research and technology capabilities.
Mr. Klues said there have been conversations between the two networks about back-office issues, including contract negotiations with vendors. The networks also may explore teaming up for media negotiations in international markets where they have a relatively weak presence.
Limits to collaboration
But there are limits to collaboration. "SMG and ZenithOptimedia will never do a pitch together," Mr. Klues said. "Maurice is committed to two distinct networks."
In the U.S., Starcom MediaVest has thrived recently by having multiple agencies pitch big accounts. Starcom and MediaVest, New York, teamed up to win the majority of work in Procter & Gamble Co.'s media-planning review. They also collaborated to win last year's $350 million Coca-Cola Co. review.
With her promotion, Ms. McCann oversees Starcom, MediaVest, Starlink and dedicated General Motors Corp. agency GM Planworks. She now oversees Canada, the U.S. and Latin America.
Among her priorities are pushing best practices across the agencies. "My job is to make sure we are delivering the best of the individual brand units and the best of SMG to our clients," Ms. McCann said.