National broadcast leaders agreed that the arrival last week of GM Mediaworks evp, managing director Marc Goldstein as MindShare president, national broadcasting and programming, dramatically adds to the media agency's depth of experience and management strength.
But the top-level shift leaves Mediaworks, the Interpublic Group of Cos.-owned media buying arm of General Motors, with a huge hole to fill and a very small pool of qualified applicants from which to fill it.
MindShare moved quickly to re-place Goldstein's predecessor, Peter Chrisanthopoulos, who left two weeks ago to head sales operations for Spanish TV network Azteca America. In Chrisanthopoulos, the agency lost a well-known executive, but one whose background is limited to a single agency before MindShare—WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather.
In Goldstein, 52, by contrast, sources said MindShare gains an industry leader with a decade more experience at several agencies and big-name clients such as General Foods, Procter & Gamble and, for the past seven years, GM's $1 billion national broadcast business.
"There are only a handful of people perceived to be at [his] level," said one source.
Others heralded Mind-Share's new hire as something of a coup as well. "When [IPG] built GM Mediaworks, they en-trusted that to Marc," said another source. "It's been successful, and he's done a great job."
"Marc has done a lot of stuff that people probably aren't aware of," said Irwin Gotlieb, MindShare chairman and CEO, "and he has very strong relationships in our business."
Goldstein said he relished the challenge of "many different clients with different goals and objectives." It's a very big challenge: MindShare bills more than $2.5 billion in national broadcast annually.
For Mediaworks, replacing Goldstein could be even more challenging. "They haven't determined a replacement yet, but will look at both internal and outside candidates," said one source. Most, however, predicted that GM will have to bring someone in from outside.
"It's a small pond we all swim in," said another source. "There aren't that many people who can do that job."
"We don't expect anything to change," said GM representative Peg Holmes. GM is moving to centralized support groups such as Mediaworks and the newly created Starcom MediaVest Group's Planworks, and is committed to that approach, she said.