Lowe Taps Vitale as Top Planner

NEW YORK Domenico Vitale, head of brand strategy at Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners, is joining Lowe as chief strategy officer for North America and will become part of a management team that includes CEO Nancy Hill and chairman and chief creative officer Mark Wnek.

The post is new and its scope is broader than that of ex-director of planning Greg Andersen, who left in May 2006 to become head of engagement planning at Bartle Bogle Hegarty here.

At Interpublic Group’s Lowe in New York, Vitale will oversee all forms of planning, including account planning and media planning. The expanded brief “makes sense given the ongoing shift in high value ideas being as much about the point of consumer engagement as it is about the message itself,” said Hill.

Vitale, 37, is expected to work across all clients, contribute to new business pitches and manage about 25-30 brand and media planners. He starts in early April and will report to both Hill and Wnek.

“His hiring is an essential component in beginning to round out our capabilities as an interactive agency,” said Wnek. “He’s just extremely bright and charming. He’s got a fantastic department at Kirshenbaum and that’s what we want here.”

Vitale spent more than eight years at MDC Partners’ KB +P in New York, where he also was a managing partner. His client experience includes Wyndham, Diageo, Citibank AAdvantage Card and Panasonic. It was not immediately clear who would succeed him at his former shop.

Vitale, who also has worked at WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather here and Havas’ Fuel in Amsterdam, said he was attracted by the opportunity to “help define the business strategy” at Lowe. The agency is “in the middle of a wonderful re-think,” he added. “I don’t think it’s just a re-think about Lowe but a re-think about the industry.”

Lowe’s clients include General Motors (GMC, Saab), Johnson & Johnson (baby products, corporate image duties), Unilever, XM Satellite Radio, EarthLink and Perdue.