Initiative Taps Meil as EVP, Innovations

NEW YORK Interpublic Group’s Initiative has hired Jason Meil as evp and director of its Innovations unit, reporting to U.S. president Tim Spengler.

The shop has also hired Katy Finnin Ferguson as vp, account director to oversee several of its key entertainment accounts, including CBS, Showtime and Fuse.

The Innovations unit was established in 2005 to develop techniques for maximizing the effectiveness of traditional media and to help clients understand and apply emerging media to marketing plans. The architect of the group was Alan Cohen, who left the agency (where he had been president, West and Worldwide Innovations) earlier this year to become CEO of Omnicom’s OMD operation in the U.S.

Meil, 38, joins Initiative from Current Media, where he was an svp at the information-focused cable network co-founded by former Vice President Al Gore and that features a core of user-generated content. At Current, Meil oversaw original programming, acquisitions and user-generated content. He is credited with spearheading strategic content partnerships with MySpace, YouTube, Lonely Planet, WSJ.com, Interscope, ABC, CBS, BBC and Reuters, among others.

“Working for a fast-ramp startup like Current allowed Jason to get involved in many areas that make him perfect for this job,” Spengler said in a statement.  “He’s got the same entrepreneurial spirit that already drives our agency.”

Before Current, which was launched in 2005, Meil was vp, program development and sales for National Geographic Television & Film.

Ferguson, 33, is based in New York but will report to John Nuzzi, evp, West Coast and entertainment. She replaces Greg Castronuovo, who joined OMD two months ago.
 
Previously, Ferguson was vp, associate media director at PHD, where she serviced accounts including HBO, HBO Video and Cinemax. She also worked with fashion brands Havaianas, Te Casan and Hugo Boss.