WPP's MediaCom Raids Havas' Savic To Serve As U.S. CEO

Sasha-SavicMedia agency veteran Sasha Savic has been named CEO of WPP's MediaCom USA, a new post.

Savic will report to MediaCom North America CEO Harvey Goldhersz, who also serves as vice chairman, Worldwide COO of MediaCom Worldwide.

Savic joins MediaCom from Havas Media Group, where he was COO, and a vital No. 2 to CEO Maria Luisa Francoli. He was also part of the team that led its MPG unit to winning Media magazine's media agency of the year award for the third consecutive year in 2011.

“Ever since I became CEO of MediaCom North America a year ago, I knew I wanted to name a CEO for our U.S. operations,” Goldhersz said in making the announcement.

Goldhersz stated:" Sasha is a strategic thinker and innovator with exactly the kind of extensive media agency credentials that MediaCom needs to lead our U.S. operation as we plan for 2012 and beyond.”



Savic will officially join the agency and will begin work in early spring.

As head of MediaCom USA, Savic will be responsible for the overall product, management and operation of all MediaCom activities in four U.S. cities, overseeing an agency with an estimated 700 employees and $6.4 billion in billings, according to RECMA. He will be based in the agency’s New York office.

Savic’s hiring comes amid a turnaround effort by MediaCom, which has had a bumpy couple of years in the business development area. Key client losses over that time include drug marketer GlaxoSmithKline with estimated billings of $1 billion; the Warner Bros. Studio ($800 million) and toymaker Hasbro ($100 million).

But in recent months, the shop has won some big accounts, highlighted by its capturing Bayer’s $400 million media assignment in December. Shortly before the Bayer win, Revlon consolidated its $265 million global media assignment with the agency. Earlier, it won Universal Music.

Depending on how the decision goes, one potential momentum killer -- or booster -- is global client Shell, which just put its account into review. About 30%, or $75 million of that client’s global ad spend occurs in the U.S.

Goldhersz was brought on board about a year ago to get the agency back on track, replacing Doug Checkeris as North American CEO, while retaining his existing global duties at the agency. It was understood at the time that he would be looking for additional top-level talent to aid in that effort.

No word on a replacement for Savic at Havas Media. Sources indicate that for now, his direct reports will report to Francoli.

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