IPG CEO Michael Roth’s All-Staff Memo Looks to ‘Close This Year on a High Note’

By Patrick Coffee 

CANNES, FRANCE – JUNE 20: Chairman and CEO of IPG Michael Roth speaks on stage at IPG’s Women’s Breakfast At Cannes Lions at Hotel Martinez on June 20, 2018 in Cannes, France. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for IPG)

So it’s been a pretty decent year for IPG.

In Q3, the company beat analysts’ estimates on organic net revenue and outperformed pretty much all of the other big holding groups as Omnicom overtook WPP in market value.


Judging by the all-staff memo he sent out this afternoon, all news is good news to chairman and CEO Michael Roth.

This was a very, very extensive entry in the year-end canon. It touched upon many of the more significant moments of the past 12 months, chief among them IPG’s $2 billion-plus acquisition of the hard-to-spell data firm Acxiom and its growth in Europe and Latin America.

As in the past, Roth addressed diversity concerns and his company’s status as a “global citizen” while acknowledging, vaguely, that there’s much more to be done. He did not get into recent business challenges like the losses of major clients Fiat Chrysler and the U.S. Army, but one wouldn’t expect that when the tone is “rally the troops.”

And of course he didn’t touch on speculation about potential successors, because why would he?

IPG’s stock price enters the home stretch slightly higher than it was last January, which isn’t a bad place to be given the state of the industry.

To the IPG community:

As we wrap up 2018, I want to thank you all for your continued hard work and commitment to IPG’s success. We have much to look back on and celebrate this year. In a constantly evolving industry like ours, it’s a notable accomplishment that we have once again outperformed our industry across so many key measures of excellence, including the recognition of our agencies, talent, and creativity, as well as our growth and value-creation.

There continues to be a lot of change in the world around us, and, as we all know, change means challenge, opportunity and and ample room for differentiation. Our IPG offering is unique, and we can all be proud that IPG looks to close this year on a high note. We have grown in every world region, as we have reported through the year’s first nine months, highlighted by UK organic growth at an outstanding 9.7 percent and by strong increases across our Continental Europe and Latin America markets. Our leading US growth further distinguishes us from competitors. Whether viewed by discipline or by region of the world, our growth across the board is due to the distinctive talents of our people and the strength of our agency brands.

In 2018, we also continued to invest in the success of our clients and our company. Our acquisition of Acxiom Marketing Solutions made headlines as our industry’s definitive transaction of the year, adding best in class first-party data management at scale and a wide array of data capabilities to our IPG family. Acxiom, an excellent and growing business in its own right, further differentiates and enhances our offerings in a landscape where data-driven marketing solutions are increasingly core to brands’ success.

On the awards front, IPG led the pack this year in terms of awards per dollar of revenue at the Global Effie Awards. In North America, IPG was recognized as the Most Effective Holding Company. We had a strong showing at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, with all three of our global integrated agencies – FCB, McCann Worldgroup and MullenLowe – ranked among the top networks at the Festival. FCB Health was named Healthcare Network of the Year, marking the third consecutive year an IPG agency has been awarded this prestigious honor. Both McCann Worldgroup and MullenLowe Group produced some of the highest awarded work, each receiving a Grand Prix. At our annual Women’s Breakfast in Cannes, we celebrates “sheroes” who have changed the world through their excellence, perseverance and passion and featured feminist icon Gloria Steinem and founder of the #MeToo movement Tarana Burke.

As a further demonstration of the power of our agency brands, IPG had more listings on the AdAge A-List than an other holding company. McCann, R/GA and MullenLowe were all recognized as the best the industry has to offer in being named to the A-list. Momentum and Weber Shandwick earned Agency Standout, FCB was recognized as an Agency to Watch, and MRM//McCann was awarded BtoB Agency of the Year.

None of this would be possible without the supportive and inclusive communities we have worked so hard to build. At IPG, we take diversity, equality and inclusion seriously. An environment that encourages respect and trust is paramount, especially in a world often plagued by intolerance. This year we took additional actions to ensure that our workplaces and communities remain safe spaces. We hosted our first Day of Understanding with thought leaders on D&I and participants across the network. We spoke at major industry conferences and events on topics that included upholding change, what leadership looks like in violent times, and the importance of challenging stereotypes. One-third of all the women leaders who signed up in support of Time’s Up Advertising were from IPG and IPG agencies.

We remain actively engaged as a global citizen. We are working to strengthen our commitment to the communities where our employees live and work. We continue to measure our energy use and emissions, and have, for the first time, set a target to reduce these emissions. We are continuing to support UN Sustainable Development Goal #6, access to water and sanitation for all, through client partnerships and corporate campaigns that include our funding of a rehabilitated well with a hand pump in Ethiopia, where more than 60 million people lack access to safe water.

There is a lot to be proud of this year and it is important that we keep the momentum going into 2019, because there is still so much to do. Each of us needs to continue to bring to work the intelligence, curiosity and creative energy that sets us apart from our peers.

I wish you a healthy and happy holiday season with family and friends and look forward to working together in the year ahead.

As always, thank you for your dedication and support.

Michael Roth
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, IPG