Foster’s Koven named Thomson vice-president

Last month, Mary Koven assumed the position of vice-president and director, product development, for Toronto-based Thomson Newspapers and it is a perfect fit.Koven says it had to be to get her to leave the post of general manager at Foster Advertising.She...

Last month, Mary Koven assumed the position of vice-president and director, product development, for Toronto-based Thomson Newspapers and it is a perfect fit.

Koven says it had to be to get her to leave the post of general manager at Foster Advertising.

She made the move because she was impressed with Thomson’s commitment to growth and its pro-active stance in the marketplace when other businesses are cutting back.

She says Thomson is building on its strengths.

‘Focus is the really big issue,’ Koven says. ‘If you already know where you’re going, it makes the decision-making process easier.’

Koven is one person who fits that bill.

She had been with McCann-Erickson for six years, and was vice-president group head, when she took over as general manager of sister agency Foster in January 1991.

What she liked about Foster was the way it was set up – ‘no middle management, just senior people working very closely with the clients.’

Koven says the Foster philosophy is based on manageable growth – maintaining profit margins without getting too big to stay close to the client’s business.

‘There’s no place to hide in a small agency,’ she says. ‘You can’t fake it.’

Koven credits Larry Anas for the Foster philosophy. Anas, senior vice-president and creative director, has now also added managing director to his title to fill the gap left by Koven.

Foster, 49% owned by McCann-Erickson, has traditionally handled a lot of Canadian government accounts.

Koven and Anas worked together to add more stability to the agency’s client list by pursung private-sector business such as Consumers Gas.

Now Koven’s back in the newspaper business and ‘a little overwhelmed by the number of publications in the u.s. and Canada.’

At Thomson, which publishes 163 daily newspapers, and several non-dailies in North America, each market will be approached individually and its needs assessed, whether consolidation of products or the introduction of new vehicles such as special sections, supplements and magazines.