Salvatore to Run MediaVest USA

As the new chief executive of MediaVest USA, Donna Salvatore is hoping to add some stability to the nearly $3 billion media company.

“As an organization, we’ve gone through a tremendous amount of change over the past several years,” she said. “What we need to do is define what we are to the world.”

Salvatore, a 19-year veteran of MediaVest’s various permutations, noted that the company has been in a state of flux since former chief Irwin Gotlieb left to join WPP’s MindShare last September. The agency brought in Mike Moore as CEO from semiretirement on a temporary basis shortly thereafter.

Kevin Malloy (who also serves as evp of international operations for parent company Starcom Media-Vest Group) took over the position on an interim basis in July following Moore’s planned retirement.

Salvatore said she hoped her status as a MediaVest veteran would bring some internal stability to the agency. “It makes for a much smoother transition from a business standpoint, ” she said.

Her appointment also reinforces SMG’s commitment to keep Starcom and MediaVest separate in the U.S., said SMG COO Bob Brennan.

“The new management structure not only brings to bear the ab-solute best talent to Me-diaVest’s clients while preserving the continuity of its leadership, but it also emphasizes the value of strategic planning and research, two key disciplines that complement MediaVest’s tremendous media heritage,” Brennan said in a statement.

Salvatore may have her work cut out for her. MediaVest could be a beneficiary of SMG’s participation in Kraft Foods’ review to consolidate $700-800 million of media business. Sources pointed out that Starcom USA, SMG’s other U.S. media operation, already handles media buying for Kraft competitor Kellogg Co.

Salvatore said no decisions about how SMG would handle the Kraft pitch had been made, however.

Salvatore was most recently president of U.S. broadcast at Media-Vest. That position will be filled by Mel Burning, who joined the agency last year.

Salvatore began her career at N.W. Ayer in 1978, where she worked on accounts that included Seven Up, the U.S. Army and Pan Am. She joined Benton & Bowles, which later became D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, in 1981 and has been with the shop’s media department ever since.