Drexler Named Optimedia CEO

NEW YORK — Media veteran Mike Drexler has been named the new chief executive of Publicis Groupe’s second media network Optimedia USA, effective April 1. He succeeds Gene DeWitt, who announced he was leaving his position as chairman-CEO in January to become president of the Syndicated Network Television Association.

Executives at the media agency and at its holding company, Zenith Optimedia Group, are still deciding whether to replace Steve Soldano, the shop’s recently departed president and COO, or eliminate the position altogether.

Drexler, 64, has 40 years of agency experience at FCB, where he was evp and media director, and in top posts at TN Media, Bozell, Ogilvy & Mather and Doyle Dane Bernbach. In August of 2000, Drexler was named to his most recent position as evp of the New York office of San Francisco-based interactive agency Mediasmith Inc.

The ageny claims US billings of $2.1 billion. Clients include British Airways, Hewlett-Packard, Whirlpool, L’Oreal, 3Com. BMW, Zales, Lexmark, New York Life and the Bravo entertainment network. Zenith Optimedia Group holding company, which includes Zenith Media as well as Optimedia, is 75 percent owned by Publicis and 25 percent owned by Britain’s Cordiant Communications.