Initiative Names North American Chief

NEW YORK Initiative has hired Richard Beaven for the new post of CEO, North America, reporting to worldwide chief executive Alec Gerster.

Beaven will be responsible for Initiative’s offices in the United States and Canada and will oversee the agency’s communications planning, buying, research and business operations. He effectively replaces Carolyn Bivens, president and chief operating officer of Initiative’s North American operations. She left last June to become commissioner of the Ladies Professional Golf Association.

Most recently, Beaven was executive vice president, managing director for Publicis Groupe’s MediaVest in New York.

He arrives as Initiative’s drive to find a successor for Gerster heats up. Earlier today, sources said IPG Media CEO Mark Rosenthal is searching for a new worldwide chief executive for Initiative, although the timing of the planned switch remains unclear.

The impending switch is part of Rosenthal’s “long-term” reorganization plan and that the change is not imminent, per sources.

Gerster, 58, in a statement said: “I have over 30 years experience and perspective that has been valuable to clients, the media and the financial community. Mark and I know that there are aspects of this background that can benefit IPG beyond Initiative. However, my responsibility and focus are now completely on Initiative and related IPG issues.”

Rosenthal’s plan, once he has identified a successor to Gerster, would have Gerster transition to a more strategic role within IPG, per sources.

At MediaVest, Beaven headed the Procter & Gamble business. Prior to handling the P&G account, Beaven served as senior vice president, managing director of the Coca-Cola assignment.

In a statement, Beaven said, “My experience building media influence and understanding into the heart of the development and execution of communication ideas has prepared me for this role, and I am thoroughly looking forward to being a part of the Initiative team.”

This story updates an item posted earlier today with news of Beaven’s hire.