IPG's Philippe Krakowsky Takes on Mediabrands Chairman Role

Tasked With Advancing Media Offering and Increasing Collaboration Across IPG

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Philippe Krakowsky
Philippe Krakowsky

Interpublic Group of Companies has named company veteran Philippe Krakowsky chairman of its IPG Mediabrands division in an effort to improve collaboration between the media agency network and other firms within the holding company.

In the new role, he'll work closely with Henry Tajer, global CEO of IPG Mediabrands, to lead the media agency network, which says it oversees tens of billions of dollars in global billings for clients. Mr. Tajer will report to both Mr. Krakowsky and IPG Chairman-CEO Michael Roth. Mediabrands comprises Initiative, UM and BPN.

Mr. Krakowsky will continue as exec VP-chief strategy and talent officer for IPG, reporting to Mr. Roth.

Mr. Roth said he and Mr. Tajer had been discussing adding a Mediabrands leader with broad perspective on the company's portfolio, which includes agencies such as McCann and R/GA, as it works to develop its approach to the media portion of the business. "For the last decade, Philippe has played an important part in defining strategy for IPG, and worked closely with me and all of our agency leaders to implement our strategic initiatives," Mr. Roth said in a statement. "He'll be an ideal partner to build on the strong performance that Henry and his team at Mediabrands continue to deliver, further scale and advance our media offering, and increase the level of collaboration across the IPG network."

Media agency networks' data and analytics operations are increasingly becoming hubs for other agencies, such as creative, digital and PR shops, within the agency holding companies. For example, WPP set up its Data Alliance to help its agency groups find and use data resources from other parts of its business, such as digital buying group Xaxis. And Omnicom continues to push agencies to tap into Annalect, its media agency network's data and digital buying group.

Mr. Krakowsky, who played a part in the creation of Mediabrands within IPG, is also known for facilitating integration across agencies, which will be one of his duties as Mediabrands chairman. He supported IPG's recent reorganization of MullenLowe group, which brought digital, creative and media under one new umbrella.

He also has experience working across the network, advising on acquisitions, sitting on the board of IPG agencies including Huge and O'Keefe Reinhardt & Paul, mentoring early-stage companies as part of the R/GA Accelerator program and serving as interim CEO of FCB for six months, the company said in a statement.

Mr. Krakowsky began at IPG in 2002 as senior VP-director of corporate communications. He was named exec VP-strategy and corporate relations in 2005, and in 2011 was named exec VP-chief strategy and talent officer. He is now the third-highest paid corporate officer at IPG, according to the company's most recent proxy statement.

Mr. Krakowsky, who previously served as senior VP-communications director for Young & Rubicam from 1996 to 2000, joined IPG just before its brush with accounting troubles that in 2002 led to multiple years of financial restatements, SEC investigation and changes in management, including the appointment of Mr. Roth, who was originally an outside director, as CEO. Mr. Krakowsky provided communications leadership throughout the crisis, working closely with IPG management to help rebuild the company's credibility with Wall Street, as well as IPG's clients.

While Mediabrands isn't facing a crisis, adland at large is grappling with industry-wide concern and confusion around transparency in media buying practices. Mr. Krakowsky will likely help the media agency network continue to articulate its position on transparency in buying practices, which are rapidly changing with the ascendance of new digital platforms.

"IPG has a leadership position on this issue and Philippe is also an advocate in making sure that's understood by the industry," an IPG spokesman said.

IPG appointed three new independent directors to its board early last year, months after hedge fund and activist investment firm Elliott Management took the equivalent of a 6.7% stake in the agency services holding company.

IPG reports its full-year and fourth-quarter earnings on Friday.

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