The Player: MPG's Lanzano must find ways to bring it all together

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By all accounts, Steve Lanzano, a newly arrived executive at Havas' media-buying agency MPG, is a consensus-builder. Without question, Mr. Lanzano, 44, has ample opportunities to practice the art of fair-mindedness simply maintaining peace among his three children-a seven-year-old, a high-school freshman and the oldest, in his first year at college.

He'll hone those abilities further as one of two managing directors in MPG's New York office, overseeing about 50 employees and many of the media planning and buying company's largest clients, such as Intel and GlaxoSmithKline. MPG USA is comprised of the media planning and buying units of several Havas-owned agencies, including Euro RSCG and Arnold, MPG Direct, MPG Diversity and MPG Media Contacts. These many units have been housed under one roof only since February. Executives familiar with MPG said that a good part of Mr. Lanzano's energies will initially be devoted to creating a common MPG culture from these varied corporate backgrounds into one operation.

The task plays to Mr. Lanzano's strengths, said his former Ammirati & Puris co-worker Sean Cunningham, now president-CEO of the Cable Advertising Bureau. "Steve understands quickly what a team's skill set is, and then figures out how far the individuals on the team can go, and how to get them there."

Exposed to media planning through an internship at Katz Communications during his senior year of college at Seton Hall, Mr. Lanzano learned his craft by doing, and, said former colleagues, is good at providing his juniors with room to grow. He started as a media planner at now-defunct N.W. Ayer, then moved to Ogilvy & Mather as assistant media director. Next came a time as director of planning at Ammirati & Puris, then he moved to Foote, Cone & Belding as group planning director, where he worked on AT&T, a client relationship that led him to his next gig, at MediaEdge.

across the board

Beth Gordon, former MediaEdge chairman-CEO, who worked with Mr. Lanzano when both were at Ayer, recruited him to MediaEdge, where he worked from 1998 to mid-2003, leaving as CEO, North America. His responsibilities initially included overseeing planning and buying-a new area for him-on AT&T. "Steve could communicate across all departments, which was important," Ms. Gordon said. "He's extremely likable, and he's very creative." Former Ammirati colleague Mr. Cunningham recalled when Mr. Lanzano successfully conceived of a multi-page unit for client BMW of North America to run in the Wall Street Journal. "We all thought it was a great idea," Mr. Cunningham said, "but Steve figured out how to communicate it and get it done."

MPG management hopes Mr. Lanzano's skills and sensibilities will help win new clients, more important now than ever after the company suffered a number of high-profile losses (Novartis, Office Depot) in the past two years. "We want to make ourselves known," Mr. Lanzano said. "The best way to make that happen is through clients' word-of-mouth."

Fast Facts

Name: Steve Lanzano

Age: 44

Now: Exec VP-managing director, MPG

Challenge: Merge people and cultures of multiple operations into a cohesive entity

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