Universal McCann Adds Exec on Microsoft

SAN FRANCISCO Universal McCann here has hired a second senior executive on its showpiece Microsoft business in as many weeks.

Steve Soldano joins the Interpublic Group agency as a global managing partner on Microsoft, tasked with overseeing global media buying and planning on the software giant’s account.

McCann Worldgroup president Matt Ross hired Soldano, 45, from WPP Group’s MindShare in New York, where Soldano had been worldwide strategic planning director since January 2004. Some of the brands he worked on include American Express, Cisco Systems, Eastman Kodak and BMW.

Soldano’s 20-year career also includes tenures as president and CEO of Optimedia Group and senior roles at IPG’s Deutsch.

In his new position (its functions previously split among various staffers), effective immediately, he reports to Ross and Nick Brien, worldwide president and CEO of UM.

Seeking to strengthen the team on an increasingly complex account, McCann recently hired Joe Burton from OgilvyOne as chief operating officer on Microsoft [Adweek Online, April 3]. He starts on May 1.

The client spent nearly $465 million in 2005 measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence. In its annual report, Microsoft said it spent $995 million on global advertising in 2005.

Ross was hired at the San Francisco agency one year ago.

This story updates and corrects an item posted yesterday that incorrectly stated Soldano was hired by McCann Erickson.