Schultz to Lead Western N.A.




Appointment of Campbell-Ewald Vet Clarifies Succession Plan
LOS ANGELES–The Interpublic Group of Cos.’ murky succession plan at Western Initiative Media will become clearer this week when Lou Schultz, vice chairman of Campbell-Ewald, is named CEO of North America.
Schultz declined to comment, but sources said the appointment is a prelude to the 55-year-old assuming CEO duties for the worldwide operation sometime in 2000. The move also positions the agency’s chief operating officer, Mike Lotito, 40, as Schultz’s eventual successor.
Lotito will spend most of his time on day-to-day operations, while Schultz concentrates on growing the company. Schultz will also lead Western’s ongoing search for a corporate media director.
Competitors perceive Schultz as a tough, seasoned and confident professional, who represents the old-school way of doing things. His style bespeaks his background: blunt Midwestern honesty and a flair for buddy-building. Said a former top Detroit media executive, “Lou’s fair and bright, smart and political.”
Two other Schultz trademarks sure to surface immediately out West are intense competitiveness and a focus on morale-building. On Schultz’s watch, Detroit’s Campbell-Ewald has won considerably more often than it has lost, and he is likely to be impatient with Western’s recent slump in new-business contests. In past years, the shop has come up short in big-billing reviews for Delta Air Lines, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Pfizer, among others.
Schultz and Lotito will immediately move to restore morale at the agency’s troubled Los Angeles headquarters. The office has been rocked since last summer with such sudden departures as that of Michael Kassan, president and chief operating officer.
Schultz wants to end the shop’s traditional provincialism and further its transformation into a truly global media resource, said one source. Its base of operations will remain in Los Angeles, but efforts to create efficiency, such as the accounting function’s move to New York, will continue.
Western here handles more than $500 million in small-to-midsized West Coast agency media billings. The new leadership may have to prove itself in its own backyard as much as it needs to move forward nationally and internationally.
“If MindShare called me today, I would have to seriously consider talking to them,” said an executive who uses Western exclusively. “Five years ago, I would have never even considered it.”
–with Andrew McMains