IPG Mediabrands Appoints Mat Baxter as Global CEO, Initiative

By Erik Oster 

In news we missed yesterday, IPG Mediabrands appointed Mat Baxter as global CEO, Initiative.

Jim Elms, who previously served in the position, was named chairman of Initiative while taking on additional responsibilities as managing director, Interpublic. In the role, Elms will be tasked with driving increased collaboration between IPG Mediabrands and the broader Interpublic network. He will continue reporting to IPG Medibrands global CEO Henry Tajer, while also reporting to Philippe Krakowsky, chief strategy and talent officer of IPG and chairman of IPG Mediabrands. 

“Today marks an exciting new chapter for Initiative,” Tajer said in a statement. “Anyone who knows Mat will tell you that his energy, exceptional strategic skills and commitment to the business will instantly be felt around the Initiative network. Mat will enhance Jim’s long-term vision and client focus, and together, they will propel the network to new heights and reaffirm Initiative’s position as unexpected and daring. The best is yet to come.”

“Jim will be an important asset as we continue to increase the level of collaboration across the IPG network with our media offerings,” Krakowsky added. “Media increasingly serves as the connective tissue for the full range of marketing activities we deliver on clients’ behalf. In his new role at IPG, Jim will further enhance our ability to access resources from across the group so as to deliver on the promise of integration.”

Baxter was appointed as global chief strategy and creative officer IPG Mediabrands last August. Before that he spent over four and a half years serving as CEO for UM Worldwide, beginning in December of 2010. That followed a year and a half as chief strategy officer for MediaCom, following nearly five years as CEO, Asia Pacific for Naked Communications, where he was a founding partner.

“The opportunity to take an agency like Initiative and reshape it to best serve our clients and our people is a dream come true for me,” Baxter said. “Initiative is ideally positioned for growth and innovation – it has the all the capabilities and resources of a large full-service agency, but is nimble enough to allow for flexibility in how we service our clients.”