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Cohen Advances at Initiative

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NEW YORK Alan Cohen, who oversees the innovations and entertainment groups at Interpublic Group's Initiative, has been promoted to the new position of evp, managing director, Initiative West, in charge of West Coast operations, which includes offices in Los Angeles and San Diego.

The move is part of a strategy to operate the media agency under two units, Initiative West and Initiative East. Last year, North American CEO Richard Beaven named Rob FitzGerald, former head of Initiative's Asian operations, to evp, managing director, Initiative East.

Cohen joined Initiative in 2005 and was tasked with building the agency's innovations practice, which develops new techniques for maximizing the effectiveness of traditional media and helps clients understand and apply emerging media to their marketing plans.

In 2006, Cohen added the shop's entertainment practice to his duties and oversaw the pitches that won both the $150 million CBS/Showtime and the $130 million Lionsgate reviews. Cohen also spearheaded the defense of the AOL account last year.

Cohen will continue to oversee the innovations and entertainment groups, both based in Los Angeles, while running the overall West Coast operation. The agency is currently adding a New York-based innovations team that will also report into Cohen.

"Alan is a visionary thinker who has repeatedly proven that he understands how to connect clients with the empowered individuals and communities who can easily avoid their messages if they prefer," said Beaven, to whom Cohen reports. "He personifies the new Initiative, which sees all media as marketing and seeks out end-to-end communication solutions."

Of his new role, Cohen said: "Each day offers a new idea, a new opportunity and a new technology that drive the creative media process. It is the perfect time to be redefining how clients connect with the new consumer and engage all consumers in meaningful ways."