Commentary

First 'Breck Girl' Eileen McKenna Dies of Cancer at 61

Well, this is sad. Eileen McKenna, a senior account manager at McCann New York, died Sunday at home in Greenwich at the age of 61. Cancer was the cause. McKenna's big claim to fame was that she was the first child to be the "Breck Girl" in the brand's long-running campaign. For her participation, she was awarded the honor of "Breck Girl of the Year." Her entire life has been advertising. She started out as a child actor in 1959 in a Xerox ad and others and then transitioned into ad agency work when she was older. Sharing thoughts in an email, McCann New York President Chris Macdonald wrote: “She could always be counted upon to be a voice of calm intelligence, integrity and humor. She was a straight shooter, not afraid to speak her mind. She was someone who knew how to get things done. She worked hard, believed in having fun, and had a really wonderful laugh." RIP, Eileen.

And so the Ad Council has a new president. Former EVP and GM of Logo TV Lisa Sherman will succeed Peggy Conlon, who announced her retirement in April after 15 years of service. Sherman will assume her role on November 3, 2014, and she will be the fifth president and CEO in the Ad Council's 72-year history. Ms. Conlon will remain at the Ad Council through the calendar year to aid in the transition. When she sat down for an interview with Ad Age, she said: "I'm thrilled for the opportunity. I only hope to perpetuate the good Peggy and her team carried out." Starcom MediaVest Group Global CEO and Ad Council Board Chair Laura Desmond said, in a statement, "Lisa is the ideal person to lead the Ad Council in today's ever-changing and increasingly digital environment. Her background spanning media, advertising and corporate brands, as well as the charitable arena, provide her with a unique 360 view that will serve the Ad Council well as it looks to harness a future of dynamic change in the media, messaging and cause marketing worlds.”

Well I can't blame him. What with all those whiny, self-centered advertising types. It's no wonder Omnicom Group EVP CFO Randall Weisenburger is leaving the agency to return to the more stately private equity business. He will be succeeded by Finance VP and Controller Philip Angelastro. Of Weisenburger's service, Omnicom CEO John Wren said, "Randy has been a strong leader for Omnicom over the past sixteen years. He has made significant contributions to the team in building a world-class company during our time together." Maybe all the merger mania was too much to take. Hey, who can blame him? 

WPP's media investment management company, GroupM, has acquired 49% of media agency Haworth Marketing + Media. Haworth's billings for the year ending October 31 are said to be about $700 million with gross assets of $87 million. The agency manages media investment for clients such as Target, Ben & Jerry's, Beats by Dr. Dre, Honeywell, DreamWorks Animation and The Oscars. Haworth, which employs 140 people and has offices in Minneapolis and Los Angeles, was founded in 1970.

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