New Media Guru Adam Gerber Leaves MediaVest

Adam Gerber, one of Madison Avenue's most influential new media gurus, has left MediaVest. Gerber, who has overseen new media strategies and development for some of the world's biggest advertisers, including Coca-Cola Co. and Procter & Gamble, quietly gave notice to the agency several weeks ago, when he took paternity leave following the birth of his first child, Maxwell David Gerber.

Gerber said a confluence of factors led to the decision, including the birth of his son and the fact that he is looking for a new challenge in the digital media business.

"It was my choice to move on. It was partly because of the birth of my new son. I wanted to spend some time not working. I made the decision to leave MediaVest, and I'm going to explore a bunch of new opportunities, but I'm not going to do much of anything for the next few months," he told OnlineMediaDaily.

Gerber, who described the break as a "two-month sabbatical" following a 14-year career in the ad business, said he expects to be in a new job by the beginning of the new year, and that it would likely be in the field of emerging media, either at an agency, within a media company, or on the technology side.

In a statement, MediaVest said it "remains absolutely committed to our digital practice" and that the remaining team is "positioned for expansion and to fill any gaps that might have otherwise been created by Adam's departure. For instance, Amanda Richman, who has been with us since mid-July, succeeded Adam as head of Strategy and innovation on the P&G business. The transition is well underway."

Recently, MediaVest sister unit Starcom hired Tracey Scheppach to serve as vice president and video innovation director, when Tim Hanlon left to take a new corporate-level position within parent Publicis' Publicis Groupe Media.

Meanwhile, Gerber is the most recent in a string of high-profile agency media executives who opted to step off the fast track at what would seem to be the height of their career for personal lifestyle reasons. Last year, MediaVest's top researcher, Mary Ellen Vincent, left the agency to "travel the world," while Carat's top research executive Joanne Burke, simply left her agency. Ironically, all three executives--Gerber, Vincent and Burke--had emerged as key media strategists for a common media client: P&G.

MediaVest has since replaced Vincent with Jim Kite, who joined the agency from Universal McCann earlier this year. Carat has yet to fill Burke's job, but is believed to have made at least one offer to a candidate at another agency.

Gerber, however, downplayed any connection between these departures and the state of the advertising business.

"I don't think it's indicative of the business being in trouble," he said. "I think it's indicative of people changing their personal priorities."

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