Back to His Roots

Bartle Bogle Hegarty media director Matthew George is returning to his unbundled roots. The veteran media executive will join Interpublic Group’s global media arm, Initiative Media North America, as evp and group director for new business, a new position, at the end of this month.

George, 40, will be reunited with Jim Bell, managing director of Initiative’s East Coast region and a former colleague from MediaCom, Grey Global Group’s media arm. George spent 17 years at Grey Global Group, both before and after the agency unbundled its media operations in the mid-1990s, forming MediaCom; he most recently was a vp and account director on Reebok. He joined BBH in 1999.

“Initiative is a big player in the marketplace, and just to work at that scale again is an exciting challenge,” George said.

Working out of Initiative’s New York office, George will team up to pursue new business with Jill Botway, evp, director of marketing for new business. He will also be a media planner, working on the Nextel account.

While at BBH in New York, George developed media plans for brands such as Lipton Foods and Johnnie Walker Scotch. The agency, a Bcom3 subsidiary, primarily handles media strategy for its clients and often contracts out buying duties.

“He has built a fantastic media department,” said Cindy Gallop, the shop’s New York president, about her outgoing media head. She described George as “a brilliant media thinker” who is also very good at identifying talent.

BBH is looking outside the agency for George’s replacement.