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NEW YORK-Has Louis Schultz, one of Madison Avenue's highest-profile media executives, been put into play?

That's the speculation from industry watchers who say the Lintas veteran has bigger ambitions than the post he was recently given as part of the restructuring of the merged Ammirati & Puris/Lintas.

As president-chief operating officer of Lintas Marketing Communications, a new Warren, Mich.-based unit, Mr. Schultz now runs his own show, heading new technologies, direct marketing and sales promotion for multinational clients. His friends, however, say Mr. Schultz craves a bigger stage.

"It's a lot better than selling hot dogs at the corner of 64th Street," Mr. Schultz joked, then continued: "I've been talking for a year and a half to get our company moving in new media. I think we can develop an expertise in online, infomercials, creating sponsored programming with advertising, creating alliances, and developing expertise in infomercials and home shopping."

It's also a lot better than other Lintas New York executives fared in the agency's merger with Ammirati. Some 40 staff members and executives were terminated late last year.

Mike Lotito, formerly exec VP-media director at Ammirati, succeeded Mr. Schultz as head of Lintas' New York-based media operations. Mr. Lotito, 34, exec VP-chief media officer of the merged agency, like Mr. Schultz is smart and sometimes brash. He's often mentioned as one of several young, midsize agency media directors on the cutting edge of new media.

He is also close to General Motors Corp. media czar Phil Guarascio, having trained under the GM executive at the former Benton & Bowles agency.

Joe Mandese contributed to this story.

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