Mr. Cohen, now president of Initiative's western region, has been an important force in that agency's turnaround over the past two years. A former entertainment executive who worked at ABC, NBC and 20th Century Fox, he helped Initiative bring in clients like CBS, Lions Gate Films and LucasArts. He also built up Initiative's worldwide innovations practice and, in 2007, he was named an Ad Age media maven.
At OMD, Mr. Cohen, who starts his new role on June 1 and will be based out of Los Angeles, will report to North American CEO Page Thompson.
"The entertainment experience is a perfect fit, but it's bigger than that," Mr. Thompson said in an interview. "It's the innovation and creativity in the work that he is doing for clients. Having competed against him, I know what an impressive person he is. He's beaten us a couple times and I hate to get beat."
Mr. Cohen's hire is the latest in a series of personnel shifts at the media agency. It recently recruited John Raj from Visa to head up its digital operations, made digital expert Scott Hagedorn its East Coast boss and just this week announced that West Coast managing director Monica Karo would become president of integrated accounts running Apple and Nissan accounts.
One role still to be filled, however, is the OMD's worldwide CEO role. Since Joe Uva left last year become CEO at Univision, Daryl Simm, head of Omnicom Media Group, the organization that houses OMD, PHD and other companies, has been running OMD on a global basis. Though Omnicom won't publicly acknowledge it, there is an ongoing search to fill the role, according to executives at Omnicom and at rival agencies.
"We are grateful for the success he has helped create as part of the wider Leadership Team," said Richard Beaven, CEO, Initiative Worldwide in a statement. "The focus on Innovation and Entertainment at Initiative will continue and be further developed and invested in. We are actively engaged in discussions with talent in this area."