Initiative Media Moves Execs; Simms Gets L.A. Post

After eight months on the job, Initiative Media CEO Alec Gerster has followed through with plans to shuffle key talent in an effort to turn around the $20 billion media network.

The moves affect two regional Initiative Media offices, as well as Initiative Partners, the Los Angeles unit that works with small and midsize agencies.

Randy Bixler was promoted to president of Initiative Partners, and Rich Simms becomes evp and general manager of Initiative Media in Los Angeles. Rob Claxton becomes general manager, Southeast region. All three report to Carolyn Bivens, Initiative president and COO.

Bixler, 51, has been director of Western regional client services for Initiative here. His experience includes working as general manager of Initiative’s San Diego office and spending 20 years in television sales management at KFMB-TV, the CBS affiliate in San Diego.

“He’s very focused on a client’s business, not just on their media needs,” said Bivens.

Bixler replaces Bruce Silverman, 56, who in January will become president of WongDoody in Los Angeles. For Silverman, who helped found Initiative Partners, the new position marks a return to his creative roots. Prior to joiningInitiative, he was president and partner at Asher/Gould in Los Angeles.

Simms, 46, was previously evp and general manager of Initiative’s Atlanta office, where he oversaw $700 million in annual ad placements from clients such as BellSouth and Home Depot.

Dave Fitzgerald, CEO of Fitgerald + Co. in Atlanta, where Simms worked for four years, described Simms as “a creative media thinker.” Said Fitzgerald, “He’s always on the lookout for new and innovative ways of getting his clients’ messages out. And he’s a pleasure to work with.”

Rob Claxton, 48, had been svp and group account director in Atlanta, where he managed retail strategy for Home Depot.

“There’s no question we’ve been evaluating where we want to go and how to get there,” said Bivens. “We want people leading who are students of the trends, who look forward, do not get caught up in history or what was, who see the big picture but manage flawlessly the execution of details.”