Global Power List 2010: W - Z

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 02 July 2010 12:00AM

W

WANG, GARY

Job: CEO and founder

Company: Tudou

Age: 37

Killer power fact

Wang founded the online video sharing website Tudou when he was 32 with his Dutch business partner Marc van der Chijs. The duo were among the first to fan the fires that made the nascent online video industry a sensation in China.

Path to power

In 1997, he was the business development manager and product specialist for Hughes Electronics, and he later surfaced in Shanghai at the media company Bertelsmann Group in 2002 as corporate development director and as MD of BOL China. He founded Tudou in 2005.

Deals and deeds

In terms of unique daily visitors, Tudou is only second in China's online video market to Youku. In 2010, Tudou has strengthened its original-production, made-for-internet video programming and has engaged with audiences through events such as its own film festival.

What he says

"Everyone is the director in his life."

What people say

"Gary is confident in the way he runs his business, he knows what his goals are and he has no doubt that Tudou will reach them. He seems quite relaxed during work, but he is very demanding of his staff" - Marc van der Chijs, the co-founder of Tudou.

Would you believe it?

Wang - who speaks Mandarin and English fluently, and is conversational in French and Spanish - is a trained engineer and a published fiction writer.

The year ahead

With the number of Chinese "netizens" watching online videos growing, Tudou is set for a strong year. It will see a further increase in traffic owing to its investment in content creation and its deal with competitor Youku to share some of its licensed content inventory.

WEISENBURGER, RANDALL

Job: Chief financial officer

Company: Omnicom

Age: 51

Killer power fact

For more than a decade New York-based Weisenburger has played a key role in the evolution of Omnicom.

Path to power

A Wharton graduate, he built his reputation as a close associate of the legendary US dealmaker Bruce Wasserstein, who founded the boutique investment bank Wasserstein Perella.

Deals and deeds

He has had the task of steering Omnicom through a storm last year when it was faced with $58 million worth of unpaid bills as Chrysler filed for bankruptcy.

What he says

On joining Omnicom: "Once I understood what Omnicom was about ... it was ultimately fairly similar to private equity. You're dealing with portfolio companies and their management teams, but you don't actually run the businesses."

What people say

"He understands exactly what investors are looking for. He's knowledgeable about the financial aspects of a company. Talking to him, you always get the impression that Omnicom has a strong grasp of financial controls" - investment analyst.

Would you believe it?

He first met John Wren, the Omnicom CEO, at their daughters' primary school in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Wren, looking for a successor to his retiring chief financial officer, asked Weisenburger if he knew of any good candidates. Weisenburger offered him some names, not realising that Wren's real interest was in hiring him.

The year ahead

The recession and resultant cuts in marketing spend have taken their toll on Omnicom's recent financial performance. Weisenburger believes things are stabilising - but he will have to continue to be vigilant about cost structures.

WENNER, JANN

Job: Founder and publisher

Publication: Rolling Stone

Age: 64

Killer power fact

Wenner is one of a handful of figures at the heart of the rock version of the American dream - and he's now the main arbiter when it comes to deciding who gets into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Path to power

Having worked on student and counter-culture titles in the mid-60s, Wenner founded Rolling Stone (in partnership with the San Francisco Chronicle jazz critic Ralph Gleason) in San Francisco in 1967.

Deals and deeds

Ten years ago, the title was languishing - but changes made in 2006, not least new editorial appointments, helped to restore its fortunes and its circulation hit an all-time high of 1.5 million copies a fortnight.

What he says

"Throughout our history, we've seen the careers of the nation's most notable journalists flourish - including Cameron Crowe and the late Hunter S Thompson."

What people say

Tom Wolfe paid tribute to Wenner's influence in ensuring that his first novel, The Bonfire Of The Vanities, was completed: "I was absolutely frozen with fright about getting it done and I decided to serialise it and the only editor crazy enough to do that was Jann."

Would you believe it?

Wenner discovered photographer Annie Leibovitz when she was a 21-year-old San Francisco Art Institute student.

The year ahead

Rolling Stone is diversifying - it plans to open a restaurant in Hollywood in 2010.

WEED, KEITH

Job: Chief marketing and communications officer

Company: Unilever

Age: 49

Killer power fact

Weed stepped into this new role in April - the first time the world's second-biggest advertiser has elevated its highest-ranking marketing executive to its top management tier.

Path to power

Weed is an engineering graduate: beginning in tyres, he soon switched from Michelin to marketing (with perfume brand Elida Gibbs).

A long-serving Unilever manager, he was most recently the executive VP of home care, oral care and water.

Deals and deeds

Weed was an architect of Unilever's communications channel management strategy that moved media strategy to the forefront. His new title notably includes communications as well as marketing. A sociable networker, as well as being a former chairman of the Advertising Association and president of the Marketing Society, he is a fan of Bartle Bogle Hegarty to whom he has given greater responsibility since taking charge of laundry care. Work under his stewardship includes Persil's "dirt is good", and Dove's Cannes Grand Prix-winning "evolution".

What he says

"We sell more than seven million washes every half an hour."

What people say

"Keith's exactly what you'd expect of a top marketer: enthusiastic about consumers, with a conviction in the power of brands for good" - one observer says.

Would you believe it?

He's not a bad artist and is known to throw "dinner and paint" parties.

The year ahead

He's replacing the maverick and universally adored Simon Clift, but Weed is no grey pen-pusher. The big question is how Paul Polman, the CEO at Unilever (he's Nestle and Procter & Gamble-trained, and the first "outsider" to take the reins at the brand), will affect Unilever's global marketing strategy.

WINTOUR, ANNA

Job: Editor-in-chief

Publication: Vogue

Age: 60

Killer power fact

She's one of the most influential trend-setters in the world of glossy magazine publishing, but her allegedly aloof and demanding persona has earned her the nickname "Nuclear Wintour".

Path to power

Wintour moved to New York in the 70s after working on the British version of Harper's and worked on several US titles before becoming Vogue's creative supremo in the early 80s.

Deals and deeds

She's been re-establishing her public profile recently. She was the subject of a television documentary; and not only featured heavily in The September Issue, a film about the production of a single issue of Vogue, but also helped to promote the film on its release.

What she says

"To me, this is a really interesting time to be in this position and I think it would be in a way irresponsible not to put my best foot forward and lead us into a different time" - on speculation that she might be looking to step back.

What people say

"Anna Wintour's face says it all" -newspaper headline above pictures of her pointedly ignoring badly behaved, upstart fashionistas Pixie Geldof and Alexa Chung as she shared the front row with them at London Fashion Week.

Would you believe it?

Lauren Weisberger, a former personal assistant, wrote the 2003 bestselling roman a clef, The Devil Wears Prada. This was later made into a successful film starring Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly - a fashion editor widely believed to be based on Wintour.

The year ahead

If she's serious about dispelling the rumours that she's considering stepping back, then it's going to be another energetic, high-profile year for Wintour.

WITTY, ANDREW

Job: CEO

Company: GlaxoSmithKline

Age: 45

Killer power fact

Witty single-handedly bolstered GSK's global reputation, and shocked his competitors, when he announced that GSK would slash prices of vital drugs for developing countries. The pharmaceutical giant was 16th in the league of global adspenders in 2008.

Path to power

Witty became the CEO of GSK in 2008 at the tender age of 43 following a meteoric rise up the ladder. Starting in 1985 on GSK's management trainee scheme, he later headed up operations in Africa, the United States, and Asia-Pacific before becoming the president of GSK Europe in 2003.

Deals and deeds

Gambled on swine flu and won - Witty predicted the pandemic, and GSK developed the vaccine Relenza. Diet pill Alli has been a success following one of the biggest-ever marketing pushes for an over-the-counter medicine.

What he says

"I want GSK to be a very successful company, but not by leaving the population of Africa behind."

What people say

Compared with his predecessor Jean-Pierre Garnier, he's been described as "more down to earth, more aware of the extraordinary challenges his business faces".

Would you believe it?

A running fanatic, Witty once ran from his office in Berkeley Square to GSK's Brentford HQ.

The year ahead

Witty's swine flu predictions resulted in vaccine sales netting the company an estimated $4.8 billion in 2009. Now he's strengthening the brand's consumer arm and, with his restructure of GSK almost complete, all expectations are that the company will continue to grow.

WREN, JOHN

Job: CEO

Company: Omnicom

Age: 57

Killer power fact

Despite having a profile that bears no comparison with Sir Martin Sorrell's, Wren vies with the media-friendly WPP boss for the title of the most powerful figure in world advertising. He's built Omnicom - home of BBDO, DDB, TBWA and OMD - into what many consider to be the industry's gold standard.

Path to power

A publicity-shy ex-accountant, Wren joined Needham Harper, one of Omnicom's founding companies, in 1984 from Arthur Andersen. He was elected president of Omnicom in 1995, having turned the Diversified Agency Services division, an unglamorous mix of marketing companies, into the group's fastest-growing division of the group.

Deals and deeds

Famous as one of the industry's top earners, he's built Omnicom through strong organic growth allied to creative principles. His emphasis is on small acquisitions that will complement current offerings.

What he says

"It would be a fantasy to think that there are 60,000 people in 102 countries waking every morning awaiting your instructions."

What people say

"Wren has managed to pull off the difficult feat of pleasing both Wall Street and awards show juries" - from a guide to the most influential New Yorkers.

Would you believe it?

Before entering advertising he was a partner in a catering company, set up a T-shirt company, managed a furniture clearance outlet for Macy's and combined his day job at Arthur Andersen with running a chain of roller-hockey rinks.

The year ahead

With Wren's steady hand on the tiller, Omnicom has weathered the worst of the economic storm. In April its share price hit a 12-month high.

WEST, MARY BETH

Job: Executive VP and chief marketing officer

Company: Kraft Foods

Age: 48

Killer power fact

Kraft's $19 billion takeover of Cadbury this year creates an advertiser with an estimated $2.7 billion global marketing spend.

Path to power

West was appointed to Kraft's top marketing slot in 2007, after a meteoric rise in the 20 years since she joined General Foods, a company eventually acquired by Kraft, as associate product manager on Maxwell House. In between, she has managed most of Kraft's huge family of brands from Kraft May to Jell-O.

Deals and deeds

West made tough decisions as she began the overhaul of Kraft's marketing. Moving Kraft's brands from JWT to McGarryBowen and DraftFCB led to JWT's closure of its Chicago office. She commissioned a new logo and corporate identity for Kraft last year to help maintain its identity in the face of own-label products.

What she says

"We're always focused on driving our key brands and it really is about helping them remain competitive and relevant in this current economic situation."

What people say

The company's marketing function "almost took pride in its dinosaurish-ness", until West's turnaround began three years ago, one agency executive notes.

Would you believe it?

She is a keen musician, playing the violin, saxophone and piano.

The year ahead

Kraft is to keep Cadbury's marketing and sales operations in the UK. Observers must wait and see, though, as to what Kraft will do with Cadbury's brands in the US. Meanwhile Kraft will continue its bid to become the world's leading snacks, confectionery and quick meals company, with heavier marketing of its products in the emerging BRIC markets.

Y

YDHOLM, MIKAEL

Job: Head of global media

Company: Ikea

Age: 50

Killer power fact

Ydholm - a Swede, of course - is the global marketing supremo for the world's largest furniture retailer (and the 15th most awarded advertiser in the world).

Path to power

Ydholm has Ikea in his DNA, having left the company for stints at agencies and a fashion client a few times over the past 13 years, but always returned. He took up his current post in 2008, overseeing Ikea marketing managers across the globe.

Deals and deeds

Despite spending a relatively small proportion of its sales on above-the-line advertising, the private Ikea (in both ownership and publicity terms) picked up international awards in 2009 for campaigns from countries as diverse as Germany, Austria, Malaysia, Japan and Australia, as well as its native Sweden.

What he says

"The product is our identity."

What people say

"Extremely successful but still very modest and low-key, a very humble person" - Rasmus Bech-Hansen, the MD of Kontapunkt Online, says of his former colleague.

Would you believe it?

Ydholm is a grandfather several times over, despite his youthful and design-conscious look.

The year ahead

How Ikea should embrace digital innovation without losing its heritage of quirky humour and understated confidence is one of the key things Ydholm will be grappling with. Expect platforms that pull consumers in - such as apps to create better homes - rather than messages pushed out through social media channels.

YOUNG, MILES

Job: CEO

Company: Ogilvy Group

Age: 55

Killer power fact

Young was appointed to succeed the legendary Shelly Lazarus as head of the Ogilvy Group worldwide in 2009.

Path to power

After joining Ogilvy London early in his career as an account director, Young rose to head O&M Direct before heading off to run the Asia region.

Deals and deeds

During his tenure in Asia, Ogilvy grew into a top-three agency in most countries and revenues doubled, to $500 million, in the last five years of his rule there.

What he says

"God is in the details. I had it drilled into me as an account executive to always check the menu card. This is critical when running a large network. Either you run it or it runs you. There is no middle way."

What people say

"Miles is definitely a gentleman with brains," says Sir Martin Sorrell, while Neil French, the owner of the World Press Awards and a former creative director at WPP, adds: "Miles is charm on legs and has a brain the size of a planet. If there is a downside, it's his taste in tailors."

Would you believe it?

Young owns a cinnamon farm in Sri Lanka. He also collects Chinese contemporary sculpture, mostly (he says) because he can't afford to collect Chinese contemporary art any more.

The year ahead

Young still has some way to go to get the critical New York office to the top of its game, and he also has to find a new energy for the entire network. Young's grounding in direct marketing will help hone the network's 360-degree positioning and his European roots and success in Asia will help Ogilvy feel a less US-centric network.

Z

Zell, Sam

Job: Chairman and CEO

Company: The Tribune Company

Age: 68

Killer power fact

The Tribune Company is one of American's most important media concerns - it not only owns The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times and an extensive portfolio of regional newspapers, it also boasts 23 television stations, covering almost 80 per cent of the US population. And Zell isn't just a media mogul, he's a heavyweight political operator too - he's a major supporter of Israeli causes and foundations and has made significant contributions to both main US political parties.

Path to power

Zell, who had made a fortune from property development, acquired the company for $8.2 billion in 2007 and took it private.

Deals and deeds

The Tribune Company filed for bankruptcy in December 2008.

What he says

"It's the deal from hell. And it will continue to be the deal from hell until we turn it around" - on his heavily leveraged 2007 acquisition of the company.

What people say

"Can anyone tell me why Mr Zell believes that reducing the quality of the product will drive up sales?"- a blogger reacts to news of editorial changes in the print version of the Los Angeles Times, 2008.

Would you believe it?

Zell has tended to round on journalists, blaming them for the woes of the newspaper industry - he maintains that they don't write about the sorts of things people want to read. During a public forum he was once asked about this by one of his own reporters, who pointed out that people tend to want to read about puppy dogs. Zell swore at her.

The year ahead

He's clearly hoping to put the company on an even keel as it comes out of bankruptcy protection - and he may be looking to sell some assets.

ZUCKER, JEFF

Job: President and CEO

Company: NBC Universal

Age: 45

Killer power fact

He's a hugely controversial figure who has, of late, been rather accident prone when it comes to micro-management - but he remains one of the US media's most influential executives.

Path to power

Hired by NBC in 1986 to research information for its coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics, he worked his way up to become NBC Entertainment's president in 2000. Following the merger with Vivendi Universal, he was promoted to become the president of its Television Group in May 2004. Zucker was promoted on February 6, 2007 to his current position, replacing Bob Wright, who had been boss of NBC for more than two decades.

Deals and deeds

Zucker is currently synonymous with the debacle surrounding The Jay Leno Show. Scared that the late-night show host was thinking of moving on, Zucker offered him a primetime slot, effective from September 2009. The ratings suffered, triggering management squabbling and infighting earlier this year.

What he says

"We live in a society today that loves a soap opera. Three months ago it was David Letterman. Six weeks ago it was Tiger Woods' problems. Today, it's NBC's problems."

What people say

"Instead of the mogul with moxie who transformed television - he called for a re-engineering of our businesses from top to bottom - Zucker might better be remembered as the guy who plucked the peacock."

Would you believe it?

Zucker has continued his career despite a long battle with colon cancer, first diagnosed at the age of 31.

The year ahead

Zucker needs to put the Leno debacle behind him and concentrate on more strategic issues, not least a proposed merger with Comcast, the largest cable operator in the US.

ZUCKERBERG, MARK

Job: Founder and CEO

Company: Facebook

Age: 26

Killer power fact

The Facebook co-founder's net worth is estimated by some sources to be above $4 billion, although Forbes believes the figure is far lower.

Path to power

Zuckerberg came up with the idea for the site while at Harvard. He went with friends to California to develop the idea during the summer holiday, and decided not to return to college.

Deals and deeds

In August last year, Facebook acquired FriendFeed, a new software platform enabling users to share information online.

What he says

Asked during an interview in February whether Facebook was doing enough to guard the private details of users, Zuckerberg's response was boiled down by the world's media as being tantamount to saying: "The age of privacy is over."

What people say

"I don't buy Zuckerberg's argument that Facebook is now only reflecting the changes that society is undergoing. I think Facebook itself is a major agent of social change and, by acting otherwise, Zuckerberg is being arrogant and condescending" - blogger responding to Zuckerberg's so-called "the age of privacy is over" interview.

Would you believe it?

He has (or at least had, while he was at Harvard) a taste for the classics, particularly The Iliad.

A cursory search of his Facebook profile recently revealed he had 901 Facebook friends.

The year ahead

Privacy controls that are much simpler to use have recently been applied to the Facebook site. This follows pressure from many governments around the world, seeking to ensure the security of users. Expect more heat in 2010 around the issue of sharing Facebook data with advertisers.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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