Deutsch Names Sawyer CEO

NEW YORK Linda Sawyer has been promoted to CEO of Interpublic Group’s Deutsch Inc., succeeding Donny Deutsch, who will remain chairman, the agency said.

Sawyer, 44, has been COO of the company since 2001, and the promotion has been expected for months [Adweek, Sept. 19].

In a statement, Deutsch, 47, called Sawyer “a dynamic, thoughtful leader. Linda’s been on the forefront of driving the organization’s growth and shaping the Deutsch brand as well.”

Sawyer joined the agency in 1989 as vp, account director. As CEO, she is now charged with leading the management teams of Deutsch in New York and Marina del Rey, Calif., and is expected to prepare the shop for international expansion.

“We are a unique agency,” Sawyer said in a statement. “What is so powerful about Deutsch is the management team we have in place, a brain trust parallel to none. I’m excited and honored to help Deutsch maintain its leadership position in the industry. We are seeing wholesale changes in our industry, and we’ll continue to innovate and pioneer that change.”

In her first move as CEO, Sawyer has named co-presidents for the East and West Coast offices. In New York, managing partners Val DiFebo (account) and Kathy Delaney (creative) have added the co-president title, and at Deutsch/LA, managing partners Mike Sheldon (account) and Eric Hirshberg (creative) are co-presidents.

Delaney, 41, joined the agency in 1993. DiFebo, 43, has been at Deutsch since 1992. Hirshberg, 37, and Sheldon, 46, joined Deutsch/LA in 1997.

Sawyer is expected to name her successor as COO before the end of the year.

Besides such integrated services as deutschMedia, iDeutsch and deutschDirect, the agency has expanded in the past year with the launch of Media Bridge Entertainment, Yellowfin Premedia and Consumer Prime.

Sawyer’s rise through the ranks at Deutsch continued in 1992, when she became a managing partner, and general manger in 1996. She has also held management positions at Lintas, Ted Bates and Avrett, Free & Ginsberg.