Schultz to Exit Initiative Media

LOS ANGELES—Lou Schultz, chairman and CEO of Initiative Media Worldwide, is stepping down after two years at the helm of the Interpublic Group global media network, sources said. Schultz is expected to remain with IPG in an undetermined role. Initiative parted with its flagship client, The Walt Disney Co., in a $500 million media consolidation won by Starcom last month. David Verklin, Carat USA head, was a leading candidate for Schultz’s post, sources said, but Verklin on Friday said he is “certainly not in the running. I’m definitely staying with Carat.” IPG chairman John Dooner and Schultz could not be reached.

CIA Out of Hyundai Review; Sassos Tapped as Chair

LOS ANGELES—Mediaedge: CIA in New York has been cut from the contender list for Hyundai and Kia’s combined $500 million U.S. media buying review, sources said. CIA faced insurmountable conflict hurdles following the completion last month of WPP’s purchase of former CIA parent Tempus Group and the merging of CIA and WPP’s The Media Edge. WPP media entities handle media for Ford and Ford division Jaguar. Still in the review are Aegis’ Carat and Horizon Media, both in New York. Separately, Tom Sassos has been named chairman of Media -edge: CIA, sources said. Sassos, former CEO of CIA Medianetwork in the U.S., will essentially partner with Steve Lanzano, TME’s CEO, who will retain that title.

Lowe Production Head Mulls Move to D’Arcy

NEW YORK—Lowe’s head of production Bob Nelson is negotiating with D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles to join the agency, a D’Arcy representative confirmed. The move would reunite the Lowe evp and managing partner with D’Arcy creative chief Lee Garfinkel. Nelson, who resigned from Lowe last week, has a strict noncompete clause in his current contract and must settle on an exit deal, sources said. If Nelson joined D’Arcy it would likely be in a new global post. While Lowe will likely look outside for a successor, another production executive is expected to assume Nelson’s duties in the interim, sources said. Nelson could not be reached. Lowe officials declined comment.

Account Activity

EarthLink last week sent RFPs to 10-12 shops for its $40-50 million account. They include incumbent TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., the team of BaylessCronin in Atlanta with Merkley Newman Harty & Partners in New York, Foote, Cone & Belding in Chicago, Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., Arnold in Boston and New York shops Berlin Cameron/Red Cell and dRush, sources said. TBWA\C\D plans to defend. … The Department of Defense is considering a proposal to eliminate the Joint Recruiting Advertising Program’s $15-20 million budget, a government official said. The proposal would free up money for the war in Afghanistan. Contending are Bates, the incumbent, J. Walter Thompson, Foote, Cone & Belding and D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, all in New York, and Mullen in Wenham, Mass. … Advanced Micro Devices has named six semifinalists for its $25-30 million global ad account. They are DDB, McCann-Erickson and Young & Rubicam, all in San Francisco; D’Arcy, Masius Benton & Bowles in Los Angeles; LB Works in Chicago; and Lowe in New York, said Select Resources International, the consultancy managing the search.