Jack Valente is returning to Southern California as evp, director of media and marketing communications for The Media Edge.
Valente, 45, moves to Irvine, Calif., from DDB Chicago, where he was svp, media director on McDonald's national advertising.
A high-profile media leader here in the 1990s, Valente will report to David Murphy, president of the Orange County operations of TME sister shop Young & Rubicam, and to Mitch Burg, president of TME, New York. His post includes strategic and tactical media planning for Lincoln Mercury, Y&R's flagship client here, as well as new business.
"I am overjoyed," Murphy said. "[Valente] has great balance. He's strategic, leading a $400 million national media budget at DDB with McDonald's, and he is also very tactical, working with local franchisees."
Valente joins an office with big growth plans, Murphy added, as the shop is keen to build on its base of planning and buying in the Southwest for clients such as AT&T, E&J Gallo, Charles Schwab, Sony Electronics and United Airlines.
Valente would not predict how his arrival might affect the agency or Lincoln Mercury's media. "I like to look at a new account with a clean sheet of paper," he said, "but Y&R is offering a tremendous opportunity."
Ford recently shifted Lincoln Mercury under the umbrella of its new Premier Automotive Group, a marketing division that will develop brand strategies for Lincoln, Jaguar, Volvo and Aston Martin as a group. (Mercury is part of PAG but not one of the luxury divisions.) PAG spokesman Tom Mattia said there are no initial plans to consolidate media. Lincoln spent about $150 million on measured media in 1999, and Mercury $120 million-plus, per Competitive Media Reporting.
Before joining DDB in '97, Valente worked on Taco Bell at Bozell, Costa Mesa, Calif., and on Hyundai at Bates USA West, Irvine. Previously, he was at Y&R-owned HDM, Los Angeles. --with staff reports