The Player: Machtiger reinvents himself to lead PwC branding effort

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Bennett Machtiger had to talk his way into his first job at Y&R Advertising. Twenty-two years later, Y&R's CEO had to try to talk him out of leaving.

"I'm sad to see him go," said Y&R CEO Mike Dolan. "But by the same token, it's a fabulous opportunity for him to grow."

The opportunity is a post as senior VP-chief marketing officer for PwC Consulting, the consulting unit of PricewaterhouseCoopers which is being spun off in an initial public offering. Mr. Machtiger joined the company in mid-June to head a marketing function that will develop PwC's new brand.

"I think he's one of the best young marketing guys, not only in our industry, but in the country," Mr. Dolan said. "He's a superb brand strategist."

Mr. Machtiger, 44, joined Y&R in 1981, fresh from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He had his heart set on a job at Y&R, but was turned down. But the new MBA persisted. He appealed to the agency's head of account management and won a second interview. This time, he was hired.

Y&R interviewers during his first attempt told him he'd be a better fit for the client side. "Years later, it turned out they were right," he said.

He spent three and a half years at Y&R Advertising, then became VP- marketing at First Boston Corp., before returning to start strategic consulting firm Y&R Ventures. He later moved to Y&R's Marsteller Advertising to work on the Andersen Consulting account, where he helped lay the groundwork for the split of Andersen Consulting from Arthur Andersen. He rose to chief operating officer of Marsteller before he became managing partner at Y&R Advertising in 1996, running the AT&T Corp. account.

"I've had the opportunity to reinvent myself every three or four years," Mr. Machtiger said. He said the Andersen Consulting work-which became Accenture-will be valuable experience to draw on in his new post, as will his work on AT&T.

"So much of my career has been spent on complicated businesses," said Mr. Machtiger. "I love complex, challenging categories."

He is in the right place for that. PwC is only the latest offshoot of the Big Five accounting firms to separate from its auditing parent, even as the industry reels from the fallout of Enron Corp.'s accounting scandal.

Mr. Machtiger could not comment about future marketing plans on his watch because PwC is still in the "quiet period" before the IPO, expected in early August. The IPO will separate PwC-which will then be renamed Monday-from the accounting and auditing functions of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

However, he said he expects to retain Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill Holliday Connors Cosmopoulos and McCann Erickson Worldwide as PwC's agencies.

Moving to the client side after such a long time won't be hard, Mr. Machtiger said. "I don't think it's an enormous adjustment," Mr. Machtiger said. "I've always had a comfort with both sides."

Fast Facts

Name: Bennett Machtiger

Age: 44

Now: Senior VP-chief marketing officer, PwC Consulting

Challenge: To establish the image of PriceWaterHouseCoopers' new consulting firm

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