Mediabrands’ Initiative Unit Is Shuffling Its Top Managers

Change in chief analytics and client roles

Mediabrands' Initiative unit is making top management changes, the first since Jim Elms became global CEO and Peter Mears became North American CEO last February.

Bret Leece, chief analytics officer, U.S., at the Interpublic media unit, has been promoted to the new role of global chief analytics officer. Leece is credited with integrating analytics into the agency's approach to U.S. client strategy and investment, and for helping to shape the agency’s data, research and proprietary media platforms.

Andy Von Kennel, previously svp, business development and integration at Mediabrands, joins Initiative as chief client officer in the U.S. He replaces Shane Ankeney, who parted ways with the media network. Prior to Mediabrands, Von Kennel ran a technology startup and worked at Omnicom, where he spent most of his time at Rapp and Omnicom Media Group's PHD network. At Rapp, he launched the agency's analytics-driven promotional unit in the U.S., winning clients like Mattel, Porsche and Nike.

Joe Masucci, formerly global executive director at Initiative competitor OMD, replaces Leece as chief analytics officer in the U.S. While at OMD, Masucci was responsible for marketing science and advanced analytics, and for managing a cross-functional group of strategists and statistical modelers. He also led the creation of OMD's U.S. Business Intelligence unit in 2007 and served on OMD's U.S Operating Council.

In the 15 months since Elms and Mears assumed their roles, the new Initiative leaders have spurred a new internal global culture and reorganized the agency’s U.S. operations, reducing it from nearly a dozen disciplines down to four: business leadership, strategy, analytics and investment.