SMG Appoints Weinstein Digital, Search President

Lisa Weinstein, the former managing partner and head of Mindshare’s Chicago office, has been appointed president of digital and search for Starcom MediaVest Group, effective immediately, the agency confirmed today.

Weinstein effectively replaces Sean Finnegan, who left SMG last October after “mutually” deciding with SMG CEO Laura Desmond that it was time to move on.

For Weinstein, the new post is something of a homecoming as she began her career in 1996 at Burnett Media, which was subsequently spun off to form Starcom. She spent nearly 11 years at Mindshare, most recently as head of the Chicago office, where she worked on a number of high-profile assignments including BP, Kimberly-Clark, Motorola and Wrigley.

For awhile last fall, it appeared that Weinstein, 36, who resigned from MindShare in October, would take the CEO helm at Geomentum, the local-media marketing and buying unit of Interpublic Group’s Mediabrands. She confirms having had “serious discussions” with that agency last fall, but that they cooled as talks with SMG heated up. Ironically, Geomentum turned to Finnegan, signing him in December as its new CEO.

After talking at length with Desmond and others at SMG, Weinstein said, “it was very clear to me that it was the right career move. I share with Laura and the team here the view that we’re beyond digital as a channel. It’s as much a mind-set and how we now do business as it is a tactic on a media plan.”

Asked what she’ll focus on, Weinstein responded, “A number of things, but the easiest answer is clients. Client business and client solutions, period. Agency tools are important, but even more in how they add value to our clients businesses.”

Commenting on Weinstein’s hire in a statement, Desmond said, “Having delivered business solutions that are equal parts data and analytics, human understanding and technology, Lisa’s passion for digital coupled with strategic strength is a winning and enviable combination for next generation leadership.”

At Mindshare, Weinstein has been replaced by Dan Reaume, who joined Mindshare in 2003 in New York and led the international team on American Express. He moved to Chicago in 2008 and oversees the Kimberly-Clark and Motorola accounts.