NEW YORK: After 19 years, Lisa Sepulveda is leaving Edelman to take the role of CEO at Euro RSCG Magnet. She is currently GM and EVP of the NY consumer brands practice and MD of the global consumer health sector.
She will begin work at Magnet on May 8.
At Edelman, Sepulveda founded the consumer health practice and designed campaigns for such clients as Advil and Claritin. On the consumer brand side, she was instrumental in the ongoing "Dove Campaign for Real Beauty."
Magnet had been without a permanent CEO since November 2005, when Aaron Kwittken left to start his own agency. John Margaritis, hired that same month as executive director for Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, has been filling CEO duties since then. Sepulveda will report to Margaritis, who will assume the title of chairman of the Americas.
Sepulveda's duties will include leading Magnet's US PR staff and operations, as well as driving business growth and building upon the Magnet brand.
Sepulveda said her experience in building client relationships, establishing partnerships, and focusing on organic growth will be an important part of her role at Magnet.
"Bringing what I've learned here in terms of team, in terms of importance of partnerships, is what I hope to apply there," she noted. " I think it's worked really well."
"I couldn't be more excited about hiring anybody than I am about hiring Lisa. You don't find people like that in the industry very often," Margaritis told PRWeek. "She has that rare combination of professional skills, client management, and that sensitive 'people have to have a life' quality. You don't often find all three in one person."
Margaritis added that the move confirms the commitment that Euro is making to its PR function. "You don't make hires like Lisa and me on a whim," he said. "You really want to build this thing."
Sepulveda declined to comment on immediate plans for Magnet, noting that she'd like to actually get into the agency to properly assess the situation. "I know what I've heard. I don't know what I've seen," she said. "I think there has been a lot of progress in the past six months or so. That was intriguing to me... to see an upward trend."
Certainly, a challenge for her will be helping the agency develop a stronger brand, a point Margaritis made to PRWeek when he was hired at the end of last year as executive director. He said, at the time, "Magnet's biggest challenge is [becoming] a company with a cohesive culture and point of view. If you asked our competitors and clients what Magnet is, you might get a different answer from each; you wouldn't get that for Edelman, Ogilvy, or Burson-Marsteller."
Sepulveda said she is looking forward to working with Margaritis because of their similar styles. "I think that we have a real belief in solidifying relationships and keeping people happy, and giving people challenges, and building step by step," she said.
Matthew Harrington, president of Edelman's Eastern region, said Sepulveda's replacement had not been chosen yet, but that person would likely come from in-house.
"I'm personally sorry to see her leave," he said. "She's been a tremendous partner to me for six years in running the consumer practice. But I'm also very proud of the fact that after 19 years with Edelman, she has an opportunity like this to pursue. She's done right by Edelman, and hopefully Edelman's done right by her in terms of the next step of her career."
In a statement, David Jones, global CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide, said, "Lisa's decision to come on board at this time increases our leadership stake in PR... we firmly believe that PR is an integral and important part of the Euro RSCG Worldwide offering to clients, and we are committed to building a world-class competitor in the industry."