Magna researcher leaves company

Steve Sternberg was evp audience analysis

Steve Sternberg, a 27-year Interpublic Group veteran and one of the more respected and quoted TV-research executives on Madison Avenue, is leaving the company.

Most recently, he was executive vp audience analysis at Magna, IPG's research and marketplace intelligence unit, which has been undergoing a transformation during the past year. In September, IPG hired Elizabeth Herbst-Brady to run the unit as president with a mandate to reshape its focus.

At the time, Nick Brien, CEO of IPG media buying and planning unit Mediabrands, said Herbst-Brady "recognizes the emerging patterns of the future of the media business and will be able to harness it for our clients. She will lead them in the next stage of the company's evolution as a marketing-intelligence and emerging-technologies specialist."

Sternberg's departure apparently is part of that evolution.

"After conversations with Steve about Magna's new direction, we both agreed that his professional interests and Magna's business needs did not align," Herbst-Brady said. "Therefore, Steve is leaving Magna effective immediately to pursue other opportunities.

She added, "The new Magna structure will now fold audience analysis into our broad-based data analytics, tools and macro-economic trending activities."

Sternberg's two direct reports, vp director of audience analysis Lisa Quan and vp manager of audience analysis Brian Hughes, will report to Herbst-Brady.

The Sternberg announcement was the second piece of recent news emerging from Magna. The shop also said it would overhaul the annual spending forecasts it typically makes twice a year, focusing more on media-company advertising revenue and not gross advertiser expenditures.

Brian Wieser, who in March replaced Robert Coen as the company's chief forecaster, presented the first of the newly formatted forecasts Monday. It said the worst is over for the U.S. ad slump but that revenue growth won't resume until second-half 2011. Magna estimated revenue will fall 14.5% for the year, which would mark the worst showing since the Great Depression. A decline of 2% is expected next year.