Former Microsoft exec Jeff Lanctot has rejoined the digital agency where he spent 10 years as an employee, Razorfish. The move ends a two-year dalliance with Microsoft, where Lanctot stayed after its 2009 sale of Razorfish to Publicis Groupe. Mr. Lanctot will serve in the newly created role of Chief Media Officer, reporting directly to Razorfish CEO Bob Lord.
Lanctot comes home to a Razorfish that has changed considerably since he left it. For one, it has more influence thanks to its integration with Digitas, Starcom Mediavest Group, and Zenith Optimedia – Publicis’s other three digital agencies. Together the four make up the VivaKi digital ad-buying hub.
The digital media veteran will be charged with countless activities ranging from working with the executive team to identify the right investments and focus areas to collaborating with VivaKi unit and sister agencies to create the best approach to co-branded Publicis Groupe solutions.
“The mission of VivaKi has been to strategically align digital and media in a way that accelerates the capabilities of our agencies, and Jeff’s return to Razorfish punctuates the power of this alignment,” said Jack Klues, CEO of VivaKi. “His vision, imagination and fundamental knowledge of the marketing business will benefit VivaKi, Razorfish and most importantly, our clients.”
From my time at Microsoft, I know the agency landscape intimately and I can say with confidence there is no other digital agency out there that understands digital media like Razorfish. The strength of the offering is simply unsurpassed, and it’s driven by their belief in digital media and performance marketing as a primary vehicle in the agency of the future.
– Jeff Lanctot
The 39-year-old Lanctot has grown up in digital media, having served as senior VP-media and eventually chief strategy officer at Razorfish since the early days of digital agencies. When Microsoft sold Razorfish to ad holding company Publicis Groupe in 2009 for $530 million, Lanctot stayed on at Microsoft as managing director of advertiser and publisher solutions. He left that role in spring with plans to spend the summer with family before returning to work – possibly at a startup.
During that time, he continued doing advisory work and network in the startup community. But after a series of meetings with Bob Lord, he grew more interested in returning to the agency. In particular, he was impressed with the investments Publicis has made in digital marketing tools and technologies through its research and development unit.
“While the opportunity is familiar in many ways it feels very new,” Lanctot said. “Seeing the investments Publicis was making… felt strategically right to me.”