Digitas has appointed executive vice president David Edelman to the newly created post of chief marketing officer.
Last week's ascension of Edelman, 41, came as Digitas recorded its first profitable quarter since its initial public offering two years ago. Net income for the quarter ending March 31 was a modest $711,000, a considerable improvement over the nearly $7 million loss Digitas suffered in the same period a year ago.
Edelman is charged with helping chairman and CEO David Kenny maintain momentum. He is now responsible for directing new business across all Digitas units in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami and London, as well as the headquarters in Boston.
Edelman plans to split his time between soliciting new clients and helping to sell integrated and expanded services to existing ac counts. He will also work to communicate the company's mission to the investment community and po tential employees, he said.
Edelman joined Digitas three years ago from Bos ton Consulting Group. Shortly after his arrival, he played a key role in helping Digitas win relationship-marketing work from Morgan Stanley. He will continue to oversee that account as evp, director of financial services.
Kenny said Digitas needed a CMO because, in recent years, it has been seen as just another large i-shop, despite the fact it also provides direct marketing and traditional advertising among its integrated services.
"With Dave Edelman in this new role, we expect to expand the awareness of our reputation and scale up our new business," he said.
As for the improved first-quarter performance, "The market moved [in 2001], we adjusted [with staff cuts and other measures]," Kenny said. "We're back to a strong base."
While Digitas' revenue fell to about $50 million compared with $77 million for the year-ago period, both Kenny and industry observers attributed the drop more to market conditions—clients keeping their budgets low, for example—than any deficiency on Digitas' part.
"A nudge ahead is better than going in the other direction," noted analyst Bill Mont bleau, who has said the first two quarters of 2002 are crucial for Digitas' long-term viability in light of the company's poor showing in 2001.