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Posts Tagged ‘Zain Raj’

So, What’s the Status of Shapiro + Raj?

shapiroraj A month ago, you may recall, Chicago-based marketing vet Zain Raj, fresh off of a stint as CEO of Irving, TX-based CRM/digital agency Epsilon Agency Services, acquired independent marketing research firm, Shapiro, in January, which ultimately led to the formation of Shapiro + Raj. The operation, though, has hit somewhat of a snag, as Raj is entangled in litigation with a former employer according to a memo we obtained that Shapiro + Raj president Owen Shapiro sent to staff earlier this week. The note from Shapiro, who says that his nearly 60-year-old company “continues to be a world leader in conducting behavior and opinion research,” should provide some insight. Seems to us like they’re just trying to do the right thing until this all boils over.

“As you know, Zain Raj recently joined our company.  Subsequent to Zain joining us, Zain’s former employer filed a lawsuit against Zain claiming that Zain violated the terms of his employment agreement with his former employer.  Our Company has unwillingly been dragged into that lawsuit.  While we believe that our Company has not done anything wrong, an Order has been issued by the court which prohibits Zain from engaging in any business on behalf of our Company, including all work, business meetings, transactions, acquisitions, and client interactions.

Out of an abundance of caution so as not to violate the court’s Order, you are not to have any contact with Zain until otherwise notified by me or Matthew.  To the extent that you receive a communication from Zain, do not respond and you are to notify me or Matthew immediately.  If any third party contacts you about Zain or about the lawsuit, you are to contact me or Matthew.

If asked by a client or other person you feel needs to know about this situation, please refer them to me or Matthew and we will discuss the situation with them.

When information becomes available, we will update you on the progress in resolving this matter.  In the meantime, we are proceeding with development of the Company and work for our clients.

Thank you.

Owen Shapiro”

The Matthew that Shapiro is referring to is Matthew Smith, who was president of Shapiro but has now moved up to vice chairman. As for Raj, prior to his brief stint as CEO of Epsilon (we’re confirming that this is who filed the lawsuit), the exec led the Hyper Marketing group of marketing services companies, which morphed into SolutionSet and eventually SolutionSet/MediaWhiz. Of course, he’s got plenty of agency experience as he’s held senior level/exec roles at what were Euro RSCG and FCB and also worked on the account side at the likes of JWT. Let’s just hope the dust settles and Shapiro + Raj officially gets the ball rolling.

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MARC USA’s Modesto Moves On

Well, guess barely eight months was long enough for Mark Modesto to figure out that it was time to see what lies beyond MARC USA. Modesto, the 30-year Draftfcb alum who joined MARC’s Chicago operation last October as president, is now assuming the CEO position at Ryan Partnership, an integrated marketing agency that has offices in Wilton, CT, Chicago, San Francisco and Columbus, OH and is housed within the Hyper Marketing fold. Modesto isn’t going it alone, though, as his old MARC partner-in-crime John Immesoete, who served as ECD at said agency, is also joining Ryan Partnership as its new CCO. The MARC alums will officially join Ryan on June 4.

Anyhow, you might remember the name Zain Raj, who took over as president/CEO when SolutionSet and MediaWhiz merged last summer and then ultimately assumed the CEO title when SolutionSet/MediaWhiz joined forces with D.L. Ryan to form Hyper Marketing at the beginning of this year. Anyhow, check out the lengthy memo from Raj regarding the new hires after the jump.

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SolutionSet Joins Forces with MediaWhiz

In your sexy news item of the day, SolutionSet, which now bills itself as the “second largest independent marketing services company in the U.S.,” has merged with online performance marketing firm MediaWhiz to become, you guessed it, the SolutionSet MediaWhiz Partnership. The newly aligned operation will be led by a combined leadership team (including now-president/CEO Zain Raj and COO Tom Lanzetta) that oversees the national network of offices in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and Albany, N.Y.

Since you were dying to know, SolutionSet MediaWhiz Partnership’s five core competencies are relationship marketing, digital solutions, local marketing, data management and media services. Meanwhile, the updated client roster includes the likes of Adidas, AT&T, AmEX, Dell, eBay, Office Depot and Radio Shack.

According to a statement/pitch from pres/chief exec Raj, the new Partnership is here to help you, CMOs of the world. “The CMO is facing mounting pressure to produce measurable, tangible and accountable results,” he says.  “With the combined strength of SolutionSet’s relationship marketing, digital services, local marketing and data management heritage, and MediaWhiz’s digital media and performance marketing muscle, the SolutionSet MediaWhiz Partnership is one of the most powerful agency weapons a CMO can have in their arsenal.”

DMNews adds that no layoffs occurred as a result of the merger.

Yesayian Joins SolutionSet, Heads New Practice

Hey, if G2 can have a relationship marketing practice, why can’t SolutionSet (we guess)? The self-proclaimed “fourth largest” indie shop dedicated to digital, direct, data and local marketing has launched a relationship group of its own and leading the charge is Mark Yesayian, who is joining as president of the practice at the agency’s Mill Valley, CA office.

Yesayian arrives from WPP’s MEC, where he handled West Coast digital operations and worked with clients including Microsoft and Paramount Pictures. During his career, Yesayian spent time with the likes of OgilvyOne, which recruited him to lead the Yahoo digital business back in 2004 (he also worked on PlayStation and Wells Fargo while there), as well as Wunderman New York and both Digitas Boston and San Francisco (he was GM at the last one). Now as president of relationship marketing at SolutionSet, Yesayian joins a leadership team that includes CEO Zain Raj, ECD and GSD&M alum Guy Bommarito and digital group president Tim Ross among others.

SolutionSet Welcomes New ECD

Former GSD&M mainstay Guy Bommarito has joined up with SolutionSet, which bills itself as the “fourth largest” indie shop dedicated to digital, direct, data and local marketing, as executive creative director. Bommarito, who will report to Euro RSCG alum and current SolutionSet president/CEO Zain Raj, will lead creative on accounts including AmEx, AT&T, Dell and TXU Energy.

The new ECD spent four years as a creative director at Hoffman/Lewis SF before joining SolutionSet, but spent a good chunk of his career (16 years to be exact) prior to that at the aforementioned GSD&M, where he eventually assumed the title of SVP/ECD. Bommarito also had a two-year stint as a GCD at what was then known as FCB/Chicago. Bommarito will take on the ECD post at SolutionSet effective immediately.

Tuesday Morning Stir


-SolutionSet promoted Zain Raj to president and CEO, effective January 1, 2011.

-Zynga sees life beyond Farmville, ramps up in-game ads. link

-Apple’s big announce? The Beatles finally make it to iTunes. link

-Stein Rogan + Partners promoted Michael Ruby to creative director. link

-Conan’s blimp hovers above Jay Leno‘s studio. Zing! link