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IPG Mediabrands' Initiative Appoints First U.S. CEO, Regional Presidents

New Structure Will Allow Agency to Be More Client-Focused

By Published on .

Initiative U.S. CEO Amy Armstrong
Initiative U.S. CEO Amy Armstrong Credit: Courtesy Initiative

IPG Mediabrands' Initiative has appointed Interpublic Group veteran Amy Armstrong as the agency's first U.S. CEO while creating three regional president roles to get more senior-level coverage on the ground for clients.

Ms. Armstrong, most recently president of BPN U.S., will oversee the growth of all U.S. offices, with support from regional East Coast, Midwest and West Coast presidents.

The new structure will allow Initiative to be "more client focused than we've been in the past" by having "senior talent looking over clients" in its key regions," said Mat Baxter, global CEO of Initiative, to whom Ms. Armstrong will report.

Initiative U.S. President Kris Magel is being shifted to the role of East Coast president. Mr. Baxter said he doesn't see the new position as a "diluted responsibility" because some of the shop's biggest accounts are out of the New York office, such as Amtrak, Merck, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Arby's, FDA and Papa John's. He added that Mr. Magel was "spread thin" in terms of looking over clients on a national role and giving them the attention they needed.

Chris Actis, previously president of Asia-Pacific for Neo@Ogilvy, has joined Initiative to serve as president of the Midwest. Initiative is currently in the process of looking for a West Coast president to lead its Los Angeles and San Diego offices.

Initiative has been relatively quiet in recent months, but Mr. Baxter said the silence was purposeful as the shop spent the last six months going through its redesign. The appointment of Ms. Armstrong as U.S. CEO "allows us to externalize our brands and our efforts to the marketplace" and "take that inward focus and turn it outward," he added.

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