As Comonte Leaves For McCann, Freeman Emerges As Likely Mediabrands Chief

Digital media veteran and serial entrepreneur Matt Freeman has emerged as the leading candidate to become the new CEO of Interpublic's Mediabrands division, following Wednesday's announcement that Tara Comonte is leaving as COO and CFO to become CFO of Interpublic's McCann WorldGroup.

Freeman has already been regarded as a strong candidate to lead Mediabrands, and has already been overseeing some of its most promising and future-focused operations, and now has many of its most entrepreneurial managers reporting to him.

Interpublic insiders say the company has not looked outside for candidates to fill the post of CEO at Mediabrands, which was vacated when the division's founder, Nick Brien, left last year to become CEO of McCann WorldGroup.

The reorganization of McCann WorldGroup reunites Comonte with Brien, who originally recruited her as CFO of Mediabrands, and subsequently promoted her to COO, making her a prime candidate to replace him as CEO there. Interpublic has said it would fill the Mediabrands CEO slot by 2011.



Jeff Lupinacci, CFO of Mediabrands North America, meanwhile, has been promoted to CFO of Mediabrands Global, assuming that role from Comonte. And Greg Walsh has been promoted to CFO of Mediabrands North America from head of client finance at Mediabrands North America.

Mediabrands did not indicate whether it would fill the COO spot being vacated by Comonte.

In a memo to the Mediabrands organization, Interpublic said, "Before accepting this role Tara carefully considered all options given her interest in Mediabrands' continued success and growth. Having crafted a strong succession plan, Tara will assume this new role and our network will benefit from increased collaboration within [Interpublic]."

Freeman, who joined Mediabrands early this year as CEO of Mediabrands Ventures, had been CEO of Betawave and of Omnicom's Tribal DDB Worldwide unit.

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