MediaCom’s Alec Gerster Named Initiative Worldwide CEO

LOS ANGELES — Alec Gerster, ceo of Grey Global Group’s MediaCom, has been named ceo of Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Initiative Media Worldwide. The veteran media executive replaces Lou Schultz, who retired in January. Gerster will report to David Bell, Interpublic vice chairman. Concurrently, Marie-Jose Forissier, Initiative Media Worldwide president and ceo, was named chairman of the global media network.

Gerster, 53, brings three decades of international media agency building experience to Initiative. He spent most of his career at Grey, joining in 1972. As head of MediaCom, which was formed in 1993, he built a media network of 60 offices and $11 billion in global billings, ninth largest in the world according to Paris-based research firm RECMA. At Initiative, Gerster will run the world’s largest media agency brand, per RECMA, with 95 offices commanding $20 billion in global billings.

At MediaCom, Alexander Schmidt-Vogel, 53, MediaCom Worldwide coo, was named to replace Gerster. Dene Callas, 47, and Jon Mandel, 50, co-managing directors of MediaCom, were named co-ceos of the agency’s U.S. operations.