Santisi has experience in financial management, strategic business development, and business risk assessment. She has also worked extensively on strategic projects involving digital content delivery, and risk management projects including Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.
Santisi comes to Interpublic Media from the financial and accounting firm KPMG, where she was managing partner of the company's media and entertainment practice. She previously worked as executive VP and general manager of EMI Music North America and CFO of EMI Music Publishing Worldwide.
The company said that in her new role, Santisi will lead all financial operations for Interpublic Media--which oversees IPG's worldwide media operations, including Initiative, Magna Global, Universal McCann, and a number of leading specialist media agencies. She will be based in New York, and will report to Rosenthal and IPG CFO Frank Mergenthaler.
The news of Santisi's appointment was released by the company only hours after Merrill Lynch analyst Lauren Rich Fine issued a report on IPG that upgraded the financially beleaguered holding company's rating to neutral from sell--based on what it characterized as "some stabilization" in the company's financial picture. "Although IPG has yet to embark on a new business spree, our concern that it might lose more major accounts after losses earlier in 2005 has also not been an issue," Fine wrote in the report. "We see a variety of negative factors still hanging over IPG in the next year, but these negative factors are all priced into the stock, making any good news (i.e. account wins) positive catalysts for the stock."
Investors reacted favorably to the news; IPG stock rose 1.6 percent to close at $10.22 in Friday trading following the upgrade.
The Wall Street reaction was a welcome development for IPG, which struggled throughout 2005 with a multitude of longstanding accounting problems, as well as operational issues at some of its major agencies. IPG shops also suffered major account losses when clients, including General Motors Corp. and Bank of America, walked out.
The Merrill Lynch report pointed out that although IPG agency McCann-Erickson recently won the $200 million U.S. Army account, other IPG shops, such as Lowe Worldwide, Deutsch, and Foote Cone & Belding "are still coming up short on large account wins, and hopefully Lowe's loss of the $80mn Tesco account in the U.K. to founder Frank Lowe's start-up agency is not indicative of more losses to come."
Fine also praised IPG for recruiting new talent, but added that "an improvement in revenues is still necessary to show the requisite earnings improvement to justify an aggressive stance.