McCann returns to Burnett as top recruiter

RENETTA McCANN has returned to Leo Burnett after a four year absence in the important position of US chief talent officer, overseeing all Burnett’s recruitment, training and talent management, reporting to North American president Rich Stoddart.

She replaces Jeff Tritt, EVP-people and culture, who joined Resource Interactive, Columbus, Ohio as chief talent officer.

Considered one of the most powerful female executives in media and marketing, McCann had spent her entire career of 30 years at Leo Burnett, starting as a client service trainee and rising to global CEO Publicis Groupe’s Starcom Mediavest Group, where she led a staff of some 600 and is credited with helping Starcom achieve its huge success. 

She stepped down in 2008, announcing she was taking a year’s sabbatical.  She later became chief talent officer at Publicis Groupe’s recently developed Vivaki, the umbrella for digital agencies Digitas and Razorfish, and most recently has been a consultant.

TOM ROVAC, DI colorist/postproduction supervisor, who’s been on the cutting edge of technology for 25 years, is taking the independent route, as Rovak Colorist Services, after two years as Foundation Content’s colorist.

Working independently, Rovak says, gives him an edge on two fronts: he can offer a guaranteed package rate for typical projects, like a 30- and 60-second spots and videos for the web, instead of the traditional, often variable hourly-bid rate.  And by working out of different color rooms he can pass the savings to his clients.

In addition to commercials, Rovak has color graded two long form projects: director Key Dickens’ feature doc “Soul Survivor,” about plane crash survivors, that was edited by Foundation’s Anna Patel, and a horror feature “The Mine,” from director Jeff Chamberlain that’s heading for theatrical release.

ROGER EBERT’S 2011 MEMOIR, “Life Itself,” will be produced as a feature documentary, with executive producers Martin Scorsese and writer/producer Steven Zaillian (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “Moneyball”) and director Steve James (“The Interrupters”), according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The plan is start shooting as soon as possible. The book chronicles the famous film critic’s struggle and recovery from alcoholism; his battle with thyroid cancer that left him unable to eat, drink or speak; his marriage; his politics and his spiritual beliefs.

CUTTERS SANTA MONICA hired former freelance producer Julianne Cite as executive producer to head its staff of nine — editors Barnett Kiel, Adam Parker, Jaime Valdueza and Aki Mizutani and a support staff of four.  Earlier, the Montreal native was executive producer for L.A.’s Rex, jump LA and Bandito Brothers, and a freelance producer Crispin Porter & Bogusky. 

Cite replaces EP Nicole Visram, who also had the title of general manager, who left the company after more than eight years.

DIGITAL BRAND STRATEGIST and brand manager Paul Marbella was named president of Euro RSCG Discovery, the digital, CRM, data and analytics arm of Euro RSCG Worldwide. His advertising and marketing career spans more than two decades, in Chicago, Boston and New York.

Marbella comes to Euro from the Chicago office of [wire] stone, one of the top 20 US independent digital agencies, and has led digital efforts for clients including Motorola, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Nike, ConAgra foods and Nike.

He is the author of two marketing blogs, brandingsoapbox.com and nakedretailing.com. He also chairs The Inner-City Education Program, a nonprofit supported by the Chicago Blackhawks that provides educational scholarships to low-resource, inner-city Chicago youth who play hockey.

CINESPACE GOT MAJOR VISIBILITY from Tribune movie critic and writer Michael Phillips, in a recent interview with studio manager Alex Pissios.  

Pissios said in the interview that Cinespace’s aim is to build feature business from local productions, instead of wholly depending on blockbuster films such as “Transformers 3” “that come to town, the publicity’s great. They shoot locations and then they leave,” Pissios said.

Although Pissios told Phillips while he can’t comment yet about the Wachowskis’ much discussed sci-fi “Jupiter Ascending,” currently in preproduction, he did say it looks good for a lengthy Chicago shoot in 2013 of mostly exteriors. London will get a lot of the studio production (details reported in the Reel) and the rest at Cinespace.

WITH SEPTEMBER, the serious fall events season begin. Facets’ annual Screen Gems Benefit Oct. 3 at the exclusive Casino Club honors architect Helmut Jahn and wife, Deborah, and celebrates an amazing 37 years of Facts Multimedia and the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (Oct. 26-Nov. 4).  The Tribune’s Rick Kogan emcees. Auctioneer Steve Zick of Christie’s Chicago leads the live auction.

REEL MICHIGAN.  “Black Sky” is the title of New Line Cinema’s tornado disaster film shooting in various Oakland counties, including Pontiac, substituting for the fictional town of Silverton, Montana. Steven Quale (“Final Destination 5”) is directing.  

The feature gets a tax break of $12 million on a projected $41 million Michigan spend.  It is employing 461 Michiganders.

Now that the fall production season is underway, you’ll have plenty of news to talk about.  Send all to ruth@reelchicago.com.

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