Respected Media Buyer Leaves Magna Global, As Expected

What seemed like a strong possibility as Interpublic began to restructure its Magna Global unit several months ago is now a reality. Long-time, well-respected media buyer Larry Blasius has left the company.

Blasius--who joined Magna at its 2001 inception--departed late last month, a company representative said.

The representative declined to cite reasons for his departure--the source of speculation for some time. The recent reorientation at Magna ("Global" has been dropped from its moniker) appears to be at the crux.

Blasius, who was the executive vice president and director of negotiations, was brought into Magna seven years ago. At the time, it was expected that the autonomous unit would serve as an umbrella negotiating operation, using pooled dollars from various IPG agencies. But the largest agencies, Initiative and Universal McCann, were resistant to ceding buying duties for their clients to a separate entity--even if it could lead to more favorable pricing from leverage that Magna could command from aggregated dollars.

Blasius, 51, could not be reached for comment. He is not believed to have another position lined up.

Blasius worked with former chairman-CEO Bill Cella, as both joined Magna at the beginning. But a sign that Magna's promise had faded came in October 2006 when Cella took on the title of vice chairman of DraftFCB, reporting up to Howard Draft.

Last December, Cella left IPG.

Magna has recently shifted its focus to a media intelligence operation. It has been moving away from any of the type of direct negotiations in which Blasius specialized. It now has a dual reporting structure up through the domestic heads of Initiative and Universal McCann. Both agencies are part of a new IPG umbrella unit, Mediabrands.

At the "new" Magna, well-known researcher Steve Sternberg provides insight to Initiative and Universal McCann. Bob Coen, known for his twice-yearly predictions about the ad market, is now senior vice president and forecasting director at Magna. Coen, who started at McCann decades ago, releases predictions twice a year on global and domestic ad spending figures. The projections are looked to as a barometer of how robust ad spending will be in the coming six months.

In the spring, there was some speculation that Blasius could use his experience to provide intelligence and advice to IPG agencies on how they should approach the market and conduct negotiations. But that appears to have fallen by the wayside.

Blasius joined Magna after IPG acquired True North Communications in 2001. He had been senior vice president and director of national broadcast at True North's TN Media, leading network, cable and syndication negotiations.

Before that, he was director, national broadcast at Anheuser-Busch's in-house media group.

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