It hasn't been easy navigating the waters of the magazine business over the last few years. While the medium has recovered to a certain extent, planners and buyers still work in an atmosphere rife with uncertainty.
That's what makes the achievements of the people on this list even more impressive: they've plied their trades in good times and bad, for companies big and small. And they're an eclectic lot. They run the gamut from meat-and-potatoes planners and buyers to researchers to execs who run huge global accounts with substantial print components.
One trait they all share, however, is a deep and abiding commitment to the print genre at a time when media fragmentation has made that genre fight for every single ad dollar. So without further ado, here's MEDIA's list of the top people in magazines and planning and buying.
Mandel, Co-chief executive officer/chief negotiating officer, MediaCom
MediaCom's Jon Mandel spends a lot of time putting out fires - not just in his day-to-day duties as one of the firm's top execs, but also as an officer of the Kismet Fire Department in Fire Island. But with MediaCom spending more than $11 billion on behalf of its clients in 2002, Mandel's skills as a negotiator is what gets him high marks from his peers.
Prior to the company's establishment, Mandel was Grey Advertising's senior vice president/director of national broadcast, buying for Elmer's Glue, Procter & Gamble, and General Foods.Karen Jacobs, Executive vice president, director of print investment, Starcom USA
Starting her career at Leo Burnett in 1986, she's held a range of posts (everything from assistant account executive to media director) and led more than a few big-name and -dollar assignments (Sara Lee, Kellogg's, Rockport). She sits on the Audit Bureau of Circulation's Buyers Advisory Committee and the American Association of Advertising Agencies' Magazine Committee.
Ginger Taylor, Print director, Johnson & Johnson, OMD
OMD USA's Ginger Taylor knows big-name clients. As a member of the firm's newly formed print group, she leads its Johnson & Johnson AOR, a post which comprises responsibility for millions of dollars worth of magazine and newspaper ads and the development of marketing partnerships. Taylor also spent eight years working as an associate media director on the General Electric AOR, as well as on accounts for Pepsi, Hyatt Hotels and HBO. In fact, her tenure with the company, predates the April 2002 formation of OMD USA by 11 years.
Bill Tucker, Executive vice president, managing director, MediaVest
As leader of MediaVest's enormous Kraft account, Bill Tucker spends an awful lot of time - not to mention money - negotiating the rocky waters of the magazine business. Of course, his influence within the firm extends far beyond that: he's a member of the MediaVest Leadership Team and has a hand in planning, implementation and research of many major assignments. Outside the office, Tucker has served as a member of the 4 A's Agencies' Media Policy Committee.
Steinberg, Vice president, director of print planning services, Carat USA
As the exec in charge of Carat USA's Pfizer work, Robin Steinberg has one of the print world's biggest assignments: she manages rate negotiations for more than 200 consumer publications, with collective billings exceeding $150 million per year. And while her Pfizer charge started considerably smaller - the pharma giant had not yet acquired Warner Lambert and Pharmacia - Steinberg deserves credit for the account's evolution, coordinating the first consolidated Pfizer Print Upfront in 1999.
Brett Stewart, Senior
vice president, director of strategic print services, Universal McCann
Universal McCann's Brett Stewart is one of the few media people who can boast that he's bought and planned magazine schedules on three different continents, having worked his way through Sydney, Auckland, Singapore, Jakarta, and San Francisco before landing in New York.
Certainly the experience he's garnered at every stop hasn't hurt. Prior to arriving at UM, his client list included multinationals like Nestle, MasterCard, Unilever, and Johnson & Johnson. During his stay at the firm's San Francisco office, Stewart handled Microsoft's global business.
At every stop of the way, Stewart has been involved in industry-wide programs including being a member of the 4A's Magazine and Media Committees.
George Janson, Senior director, director of print, Mediaedge:cia
Mediaedge:cia has long billed its print specialty group, known as "The Print Edge," as one of the media business' most unique institutions, and in George Janson it has a leader whose print AOR experience is unmatched. Since joining the firm in 1988 as a planner on the U.S. Army account, he's bought magazines for some of the world's most respected brands: Kraft Foods, Sony, Sears, Holiday Inn and more.
Sitting on the Audit Bureau of Circulation's Magazine Buyers Committee as well as the American Association of Advertising Agencies' Magazine Committee. Janson is also one of the magazine world's most quoted execs on trends in circulation and new magazine launches.
Steve Greenberg, Senior vice president/print media
director, Zenith Media
If you're a publisher who has recently done business with clients ranging from Toyota and Allied Domecq to Georgia Pacific and Schering-Plough, chances are you've crossed paths with Steve Greenberg.
In his 25 years in the industry, Greenberg has worked on both the agency and the media sides. He has served as EVP/director of convergence and print media for both Initiative Media and MediaCom, and director of marketing and research for both New York Magazine and Times-Mirror Magazines as well as associate publisher of Rolling Stone.
Debbie Solomon, partner/group research
director, MindShare USA
Who's to say that one of the magazine-buying world's top execs can't be somebody who devotes most of her time to research? Debbie Solomon may not be the lead person on many of the firm's accounts, but her input has contributed greatly to its recent successes.
Solomon's influence resonates beyond the office walls. She was recently invited to advise the International Olympic Committee on the future of media, and chairs the Advertising Research Foundation's Youth Research Council. She also sits on the 4A's Consumer Magazine Committee.
Donna McLean, Senior vice president/media director,
Ever wondering who is placing the thousands of diaper, toothpaste, and shampoo ads that reach millions of women each month. For the last five years, it has been Donna McLean who has overseen all of Procter & Gamble's print investment and currently serves as media director and AOR on the P&G print business for Starcom.
Donna also worked on the media team that developed and launched I-Planner and created the List Audit Study, two of Leo Burnett media's propriety planning tools.