IPG Overhauls Media Operations

NEW YORK Interpublic Group is restructuring its media operations, disbanding its Interpublic Media unit as Mark Rosenthal, the division’s CEO, prepares to step down.

That unit has overseen three big media companies: Initiative, Universal McCann and negotiating arm Magna Global.

The restructuring, and Rosenthal’s impending departure, had been expected [Adweek Online, Oct. 16].

Initiative and UM will now be realigned with IPG creative shops.

UM once again will be linked to McCann Worldgroup, where it resided until January, when it was split off as an independent entity with a separate P&L. (Even so, the agency maintained a close relationship with McCann and the two shops continue to work on many joint accounts.)

Initiative is being aligned with DraftFCB, itself the product of a merger between direct response firm Draft and advertising shop FCB earlier this year.

Both UM and Initiative retain their separate P&Ls.

A new body called the Interpublic Media Council, chaired by Phillippe Krakowsky, evp, strategy and corporate relations, will now oversee media operations in place of the more formally structured Interpublic Media.

Members of the IMC include Bill Cella, who was promoted to vice chairman of DraftFCB while retaining oversight of Magna, where he has been chairman; McCann Worldgroup chairman John Dooner; UM global CEO Nick Brien; Initiative global CEO Alec Gerster; and Steve Gatfield, IPG evp, strategy and network operations.

A separate entity called the Futures Marketing Group has been created to manage IPG’s specialty and digital practices; its to-be-determined management team will report into the IMC.

Interpublic Media will wind down by the end of the month with some staffers transferring to the IPG unit and a “small number of executives” being let go, the company said.

Rosenthal, who returned following a medical leave this summer, is staying on for a transitional period before moving on.

“Media is an increasingly strategic part of our overall offering and an important component of the creative product, yet most marketing services providers deliver an unbundled, often siloed media product,” said IPG chairman and CEO Michael Roth in a statement. He said the new model “puts us at the forefront of the trends toward start-to-finish mulitchannel solutions and also addresses the increasingly important digital space.”

Magna will continue to be the main negotiating arm for media purchases, working with Initiative, UM and other IPG media operations.