Top Strategic Planner Gets Novel Role at McCann

Rob Kabus, who was named director of strategic planning at McCann-Erickson here last week, was handed a job description unique in the McCann network. In addition to overseeing account planning, the customary role for strategic directors, Kabus was also put in charge of the Universal McCann media planners based in San Francisco.

The dual role is a first in the McCann network, agency officials said, and may be repeated at other offices around the country.

Kabus, 42, was previously strategic planning director at Leagas Delaney in San Francisco. McCann general manager Courtney Buechert, who hired Kabus for the new post, worked with him at Leagas. Both were part of a management exodus at Leagas last June. Kabus said he started integrating account and media planning on Adidas while at Leagas.

The McCann network recently adopted a process that has Universal McCann media specialists and McCann account planners working side by side, said Eric Einhorn, McCann WorldGroup’s chief strategy officer. “We are flexible enough now that if we find executives well-experienced in both fields, such as Rob, they can lead the charge.”

Mark Stewart, director of stra tegy at Universal McCann North America, will work with Kabus on Microsoft. “Rob’s a big thinker, a high-level strategist,” he said. “The San Francisco model is a great opportunity to make a leap forward.”

The $500 million global Microsoft account is the catalyst for the move, sources said. “Microsoft is at the leading edge of the relationship between client and agency,” acknowledged Stewart.

In San Francisco, Kabus works with media director Brett Stewart and planning director James Lou. “To make this structure work, media people [need to] think more broadly about communications, and planning people can apply insights more broadly than just creative input,” said Kabus.