Saatchi N.Y. Elevates Zuna to Senior Post

NEW YORK Saatchi & Saatchi’s account leader on JC Penney — one of the shop’s largest account wins in recent years — has stepped up to help lead the New York operation in the new role of managing director.

Michael Zuna, who previously was a group account director, will oversee some 400 staffers and work closely with the shop’s key clients, which include Procter & Gamble, General Mills and Penney. Other priorities include new business development and “inspiring integration and new kinds of thinking,” said Saatchi CEO of the Americas Mary Baglivo, to whom Zuna reports.

The appointment comes as the Publicis Groupe shop tries to recapture the new business success it enjoyed in 2006, when it won Penney, and 2007, when it added Wendy’s. In each year, New York contributed mightily to double-digit percentage revenue gains in the U.S.

Last year, however, Saatchi’s U.S revenue came in flat, according to sources.

That was chiefly due to the loss of Wendy’s; and this year the wins have been harder to come by. Last month, the shop added three more MillerCoors brands: Miller Genuine Draft, MGD 64 and Keystone, which last year collectively spent more than $20 million in major measured media, according to Nielsen. But in March and April, Saatchi came up short in pitches for, Vonage and Delta, whose collective major media spending totaled nearly $200 million last year.

Asked about the new business record, Baglivo said: “I wouldn’t say I’m concerned, but I’m focused on it.” She added: “Now is the time to go for it and I expect to put some wins on the board” soon.

Zuna, 40, becomes part of a management team that includes Baglivo — who is also N.Y. CEO — and N.Y. chief creative officer Gerry Graf. The agency hasn’t had a chief marketing officer since June 2008, when Rob Moorman left for the same role at Omnicom Group’s Merkley + Partners here. And this month, Saatchi N.Y. lost its director of strategic planning, Kristin Volk, who left to pursue an entrepreneurial opportunity in mobile marketing. Baglivo hopes to fill both openings soon.

Zuna, who joined Saatchi from Havas’ Arnold here in 2005, describes himself as a collaborative leader who is “more coach than boss.” Said one source: “He works his butt off. He’s smart. Clients love him.” Zuna said he first learned what it was like to be a leader from a senior officer in the U.S. Navy, where he spent 10 years, including his education at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Reflecting on his goals as managing director, Zuna said: “This isn’t about a revolution, right? It’s about just an evolution and it’s about getting in, making a contribution and helping. In the first 100 days, I’d really just hope everyone would feel that I was here helping and contributing in a way that’s helping everybody operate in the New York office.”

As for the CMO and planning openings, Zuna said: “We’re looking to rebuild those [roles] — rejuvenate, rebuild and refresh. We’ve taken hard looks at who we are, what we’re doing and where we want to go. And Gerry [Graf] — it has been great for him to be here and have input in shaping the team. Again, the core group of us is really excited about what we’re doing now and what’s in the future for us.”