IPG Preps Media Changes

NEW YORK Interpublic Group is preparing a major reorganization of Interpublic Media, the holding company division that oversees three big media shops: Initiative, Universal McCann and Magna Global, sources said.

Mark Rosenthal, Interpublic Media CEO since mid-2005, is likely to step down from that post but could end up with another role at the company, according to sources. Rosenthal, who took a medical leave this summer, is still mulling his options and no final decision has been made, per sources.

Terri Santisi, the unit’s CFO since joining 10 months ago, is leaving effective Nov. 1 to join sports and entertainment marketing company IMG as evp, chief financial and administrative officer.

Santisi confirmed in a statement that she is heading to IMG, but she could not be reached for comment; IPG officials also could not immediately be reached.

In July, when IPG confirmed Rosenthal’s medical leave, Santisi was given interim responsibility for media operations. But sources said it became clear soon into her tenure that she would not have a leadership role at the company moving forward.

Santisi informed IPG officials that she was taking the IMG job about one week ago. At the time, sources said, she agreed to coordinate the timing of her move with the unveiling of the reorganization plan. But for reasons that remain unclear, Santisi and IMG disclosed her new job today.

Santisi is a 20-year entertainment industry financial executive who most recently led the media and entertainment practice of accounting firm KPMG. Earlier, she served as general manager of EMI Music North America and CFO of EMI Music Publishing Worldwide.

Rosenthal’s appointment followed a series of client losses that culminated in the departure of GM’s $3.2 billion buying business to competitor Starcom MediaVest Group in May 2005.

Sources have said that IPG CEO Michael Roth was not happy with Rosenthal and that he might be on the way out [Adweek Online, July 18]. Since his arrival at the company, Rosenthal had made a number of key hires including Santisi and Nick Brien, who was lured away from Publicis Groupe’s Arc Worldwide to become CEO of Universal McCann, replacing Robin Kent. He also brought in Richard Beaven to run Initiative North America.