Havas Names Lanzano COO Of MPG, Earnings Downgraded Despite New Biz Streak

In a surprise move, Havas' MPG unit Friday promoted Steve Lanzano to chief operating officer, making him responsible for strategy and operations in the U.S. Lanzano, who reports to MPG CEO Charlie Rutman, had been general manager of MPG's New York operations. He joined the agency in 2003 from CEO of WPP's Mediaedge:cia unit in North America.

The move came during a week when Havas' Paris-based media management team were in New York, fueling speculation that bigger moves might be afoot following a lackluster year for the Havas media unit, whose last big win was Dannon, which was part of a global consolidation of media by the French food marketer at MPG.

MPG picked up North American media for Dannon effective this month. The business has been with MediaCom in the U.S. and Carat in Canada.

Other than that, MPG's U.S. operations have been a relatively underwhelming contributor in what has been a strong new business year for Havas overall.

On Monday, the equities research team at Merrill Lynch ironically downgraded Havas' earnings outlook despite its impressive new business run, citing increases in staffing related to the new business, as well as the fact that the agency holding company remains "vulnerable still vulnerable to potential account consolidations due to a lack of scale and reach in its marketing services and media businesses."

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