Jurmain Succeeds Korsen at G Media

NEW YORK Avrett Free Ginsberg has hired former Lowe media director Alan Jurmain to lead G Media as its chief marketing officer, effective immediately, the agency said. He replaces former G Media president Jamie Korsen, who resigned last week.

Jurmain, 49, was most recently evp, U.S. director of media services at Interpublic Group sibling Lowe Worldwide in New York, where he had worked for 11 years. He left that shop nearly two years ago, when Lowe reorganized its media department following its merger with Bozell. Jurmain has worked on accounts including Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and American Express. Since then, Jurmain has been a partner in a mail order business, he said,

Jurmain has known AFG chairman Frank Ginsberg since the late 1980s, when Jurmain worked as an evp, media director at Scali, McCabes & Sloves. Both agencies were housed at 800 Third Avenue. At Scali, Jurmain oversaw planning and buying for Volvo, Hertz, Western Union and Castrol, among other clients.

“My background has been at full-service agencies,” said Jurmain. “Clearly, the attraction with AFG is that it is a full-service entity, and ultimately I think the best media ideas are generated when you can collaborate between the creative and media groups.”

Jurmain noted that he did not believe G Media’s close relationship with Avrett Free Ginsberg would create a conflict of interest when pursuing media accounts with other creative agencies.

“We believe that Alan’s impressive media expertise will help strengthen the presence and creativity of our G Media division, which has already established itself as an innovative player in the media buying arena,” AFG chairman Frank Ginsberg said in a statement.

Ginsberg could not be immediately reached for further comment.

The appointment comes just three days after the agency accepted Korsen’s resignation. Korsen, who was also CMO of Avrett Free Ginsberg, resigned over what he said were stalled compensation negotiations and different visions for the media group he helped establish. Jurmain would say only that Ginsberg had contacted him about the position “recently.”

“He really resigned because our visions were diverging,” Ginsberg has said of Korsen.

During his two-year tenure at the agency, Korsen reshaped the shop’s media department into a communications-channel planning department by folding media staffers in with account planners and adding new positions. In April, Korsen helped the agency establish G Media, an 18-person spinoff designed to serve AFG’s clients and pursue media accounts independently of the shop’s creative department.

That unit had a rocky start, initially conceived as a freestanding media silo called Frontier Media for business that would pose a conflict with Interpublic Group siblings Universal McCann and Initiative Media. The agency was slated to open in March, after it was awarded Church & Dwight’s $80 million media account. But when Frontier chairman and Universal McCann chief strategic officer Mark Stewart left IPG for Omnicom Group’s OMD, the client shifted the business to Maxxus and plans to open Frontier were scuttled. Instead, Frontier was reshaped within AFG and put more firmly under the auspices of Ginsberg, who was to have shared a co-chairmanship with Stewart.

But Korsen said the unit was not being operated as it was envisioned, and that while “business was growing at a fair and acceptable rate,” he said the agency was hampered by a lack of independence from Avrett Free Ginsberg. Korsen could not be reached for further comment. Ginsberg declined further comment through a representative, who furnished this statement:

“Jamie Korsen was a valued member of the Avrett Free Ginsberg family for two years. During that time, Jamie helped AFG reach new and exciting heights, including the successful launch of G Media, which has established itself as an innovative player in the media-buying arena. As Jamie moves on, we wish him well and know he’ll continue to achieve great success.”