Initiative Cuts, Adds TN Media Employees

Initiative Media North America completed its integration of TN Media last week, dismissing 89 staffers of the former True North Communications media arm but bringing 151 ex-TN employees on board.

The personnel review, begun after Initiative’s Interpublic Group parent acquired True North, which included evaluating every employee, also ended in a cut of 80 Initiative staffers.

The cuts and additions spanned all of Initiative, from spot to network broadcast and research. Initiative now has about 1,600 staffers in the U.S.

“We were looking for the best people regardless of where they resided in the organization,” said Lou Schultz, Initiative Media Worldwide chairman and CEO. “If TN had someone who was better than ours, and we only needed [one person], that’s the person we would keep.”

In the key research area, Initiative will have co-directors David Ernst, former TN Media evp, director of media research, and Ira Sussman, evp, director of Initiative Media Futures.

“We have to think about building the right organization, not who’s in charge today,” Schultz noted.

Twenty-five ex-TN staffers will stay on in transitional roles, including Ken Orenberger, CFO of the defunct TN brand, to remain through February 2002, and top buying executive Howard Nass, to leave at year’s end.

Former FCB media executive Scot Butler, named TN president in 2000, is returning to FCB to head media operations in the IPG agency’s Chicago office, said sources. Magna Global USA, the U.S. arm of IPG’s newly created global negotiation company, is bringing on board Steve Sternberg, TN svp, director of broadcast research, as director of audience analysis, and Larry Blasius, TN’s svp, director of national broadcast, as director of U.S. national broadcast.