GM Mediaworks Snares Top MindShare Executive

Interpublic Group’s GM Mediaworks has lured a veteran media buyer from WPP Group’s MindShare, sources said. Cathy Tocco, MindShare director of local broadcast and longtime buyer for Ford and others, starts today in the new post of executive vice president and managing director of local broadcast.

Tocco was part of the team that worked to combine the media operations of J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather to form MindShare in 1999.

She joined JWT in 1978 as an associate broadcast negotiator, rising to senior partner in 1989. For the past eight years, she has been managing local broadcast operations at MindShare, which includes the media assets of JWT and Ogilvy.

Mediaworks is forming a new management group to oversee GM’s $800 million-plus local broadcast account, in response to the car maker’s dramatically increased efforts in the medium, which have tripled in the past year as buying for dealer groups across the country has been added. Local broadcast buying, however, continues to be handled by Mediaworks sibling Universal Mc Cann’s Local Communications Inc.

Neither Tocco nor GM Mediaworks president Rick Sirvaitis were available for comment.

At MindShare, Richard Cotter, manager of the agency’s New York office, will replace Tocco as director of local broadcast, but will not relocate, a source said.

GM Mediaworks, New York, handles network TV, cable TV, syndication and network radio for the automotive marketer, and its Warren, Mich., office is charged with magazine, national/local newspaper, outdoor and interactive. LCI buys spot TV and radio, including His panic media, and local cable.

Mediaworks snared another former Ford executive last August, Lynn Mroz, who was named senior vice president and director at GM Mediaworks and GM Cyberworks. Prior to that, she was print and new media manager for global media at Ford Motor Media.