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Christine Merrifield

When Donna Speciale left the agency
business to join Turner Broadcasting
at the beginning of the year, Christine
Merrifield was promoted to be the head
buyer at MediaVest, which represents giant
clients including Walmart, Coca-Cola
and Kraft. The move made Merri! eld
a power player just as the industry gears up for another upfront.

While the two executives have different personalities—Speciale
speaks more freely in dealing with the networks—sales executives expect
the transition to be seamless. Merrifield, with more than two decades
of experience in the industry dating back to her start at Grey Advertising
in 1988, had already been hands-on in running the agency’s
upfront negotiations in previous years and is well-known among
media buyers. And while their personalities differ, Merrifield and
Speciale have similar business styles: They are both capable and
smart, know their clients’ businesses and have reputations for being
very straightforward when dealing with vendors.