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First Mover: Tim Spengler

MagnaGlobal's new chief is taking steps to meet his Olympic-size goals for the agency

Photo: Elizabeth Lippman

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Specs
Age 47 
New gig Worldwide CEO, MagnaGlobal
Old gig President, North America, Initiative

How has the transition from Initiative to Magna gone so far?
It’s already begun. We’ve been working on business pitches and meeting with the team to discuss what Magna is, where we want to take it and what we need to do to recalibrate it for the future.

So do you have any of those plans hammered out yet? 
A big part of the MagnaGlobal remake is actually making it global, so we’ve added a number of key executives to help us do that. Shaffia Sanchez is coming in as executive vp of Latin America and our world market. Most recently, she was in-house at Glaxo[SmithKline], where she was media director for Latin America. We’ve also hired Todd Gordon from Initiative to be responsible for the United States as executive vp of North America. We are looking for senior executives in Europe and Asia. On the audience side, Brian Hughes has been promoted to senior vp of audience analysis. Also, Scott Donaton and his team at Ensemble are coming in to work more closely with us because we think the future includes things like content in the partnership between brands and media owners.

So you’re breaking this news with us?
Yep.

Thanks very much. Do you have a goal for your first 100 days? 
Win new business. Getting new people in place around the world. And be clear with a vision that is understandable to our team, IPG Mediabrands and most importantly, our clients.

Are there any particular markets you’ve tagged for growth? 
We have gone to a cluster structure prioritizing the biggest markets and those that are expected to achieve the most growth. They include North America and the next 14 largest markets, which we call the G14. These are Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the U.K., Ireland, Netherlands, Russia and Spain. The move reflects a change in the way we believe marketers do business—less about geography and more about pinpointing where around the globe marketing investment will be most valuable. We think most marketers would say the U.K. and Japan have more in common than the U.K. and Portugal.

What’s your management style?
I am passionate, honest, direct, committed, competitive.

Is there a piece of business that you would really like to win right away? 
Well, the world’s second-largest advertiser [Unilever] is in review now.

Are you an early riser or night owl? 
I was a night owl, but now with three young children, I’m a little bit of both.

Do you have any early predictions for the upfront? 
Television is still important, but I’m not sure it’s going to be as healthy an upfront as last year vis-à-vis cost increases. We’re not seeing as much strength as the media companies are suggesting, i.e., car sales in 2012 are really not a good indicator for car budgets in 2013.

Do you have any go-to metrics when mulling the direction of the marketplace?
Consumer behavior, content, technology, macroeconomics, category dynamics—it really seems that there’s nothing I shouldn’t be reading about now.

If you weren’t working in media, what would you be doing? 
I’d be working for the Olympics in some way, shape or form.