New Mindshare Leader Looks to Develop Business

Former McDonald’s media executive Bruce Smith will make new business a priority as he takes over as managing partner of Mindshare in Chicago, according to his boss.

“He will be looking for new-business opportunities to really build the Chicago office,” said Marc Goldstein, CEO of Mindshare North America.

Smith, 47, takes the job following a search that began in July after Kathleen Brookbanks joined Omnicom’s OMD here as managing director.

Smith for the past two years was president and CEO of ABC Interactive, a unit of the Audit Bureau of Circulations in Schaumburg, Ill. Prior to his two-year stint at ABC, Smith spent nine years at McDonald’s. He was the chain’s worldwide media director, and built a solid reputation with Chicago’s media community, according to sources.

In his new position, Smith oversees 75 planners in an $800 million office. Mindshare Chicago also employs 75 buyers who report to the agency’s New York headquarters. Smith will collaborate with the buying team as well. Mindshare’s largest client in Chicago is Sears, Roebuck & Co., and the agency also works for Unilever and BP.

Smith said he is basically hands off as a manager. “I have always immersed myself enough into a company but strive to let people do their work and get out of the way,” Smith said. He added that he has no plans to make staff changes.

As a buyer and planner he places an equal emphasis on efficiency of operations and testing the effectiveness of a particular buy and media plan. Smith said that buyers and planners have to respond to the latest technology and “explosion of choice” to reach an audience.

Brookbanks’ departure led to speculation about the Sears business at Mindshare. Smith downplayed any notion that Sears would look elsewhere. “I have already spoke with Perianne [Grignon, Sears’ director of media services]. I get every indication that Sears is quite pleased with our work,” Smith said. Sears also has said it is satisfied with Mindshare. K