Extreme Makeover: The Sears Edition, Grignon Out As Media Chief
Details of Grignon's departure could not be discerned, but a Sears spokesperson confirmed that she was leaving the company "to pursue other opportunities," after a 10-year run as the retailer's top media executive that was dotted with some industry highs, especially Sears' deft move into the world of branded entertainment that many regard as a role model for others. Grignon was responsible for developing Sears' deal with ABC for "Extreme Makeover: The Home Edition," in which the Sears brand played hero to homeowners in need.
"We were on a search for a platform to help ignite our brand positioning," Grignon told trade magazine Advertising Age earlier this year. "When this idea was uncovered as a very rough idea for a pilot, both Sears and ABC jumped on it. ... A lot of the decisions were made around that show before Ty [Pennington, the host] had even been signed or anything had been shot. It just felt right for the brand strategy of Sears."
Grignon was not available for comment regarding her departure from Sears, but the spokesperson said, "We wish her well."
During the latter part of her ten-year stint, Grignon oversaw the integration of Kmart's advertising and media services into Sears' in-house media organization following Sears acquisition of the then beleaguered retail rival. And she also saw a review of the consolidated media services account that resulted in a much needed win for Havas' MPG unit in May 2007. The account had been handled by WPP's Mindshare and MEC Interaction units.
Executives familiar with Sears' organization estimated the Grignon had a staff of "eight to nine," but it was unclear whether anyone else was impacted by Grignon's departure or whether the move was related to economic issues. Sears, like other big retailers, has been challenged by the economic recession and has been restructuring some of its operations.
Aside from her internal role within Sears, Grignon has played some key roles on industry initiatives. She is a co-chair of the Association of National Advertisers' Television Committee, and has been influential helping to set industry policies and agendas concerning the medium. She also is a member of the Executive Committee of the Family Friendly Programming Forum, and a member of the Board of The Council for Research Excellence. In 2005, MediaPost's Media magazine named her one of its "100 People To Know."
A New Jersey native who and Chicago area resident, Grignon was previously director of media strategy at AT&T and executive vice president-director of media and new technologies at Bates Worldwide, and also held a top media role at Nabisco.