IPG Adds Another To Executive Ranks

Interpublic Group last week continued to expand its corporate ranks, adding Accenture’s Neil Canter to bolster the company’s offerings in measuring marketing effectiveness.

IPG shops such as FutureBrand and Initiative already offer such analytical services, and Canter, 44, is expected to expand the practice and make it more available to clients under the new banner of Marketing Accountability Partnership.

Canter, who joins as managing director of MAP, became the fifth hire at IPG in the past two months, after CFO Frank Mergenthaler; Chris Shumaker, svp, North American network development; media operations CEO Mark Rosenthal; and chief growth officer Steve Centrillo. Last year, IPG also added Stephen Gatfield as evp, global operations and innovation.

Collectively, the five new execs will earn an estimated $2.5 million in salary annually—a significant investment for the No. 3 player behind Omnicom Group and WPP Group. “The holding company has to provide resources where necessary,” said IPG CEO Michael Roth. “The key here is that we’re not taking our eye off the ball in terms of servicing clients.”

The hires come as IPG struggles to get its financial house in order. The $6.2 billion company is being investigated by the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is probing several accounting problems. IPG faces a Sept. 30 deadline for reporting results for 2004 and the first two quarters of 2005. Roth said he’s building IPG’s capabilities so that it “will be in a stronger competitive position.” At least one analyst said IPG needs to make the investment. “It’s a significant change in approach” from the past, when IPG focused on cost cutting, said Bear Stearns’ Alexia Quadrani.