IPG Mediabrands' Matt Seiler is stepping down from his post as global CEO at the company, Interpublic confirmed on Thursday, marking the latest in a series of senior leadership changes at Interpublic Group's powerful media agency network. Mr. Seiler is moving into a chairman role.
He will be succeeded as CEO by Henry Tajer, global chief operating officer at IPG Mediabrands, who will relocate to New York from Sydney.
"Today's announcement is part of a long-term game plan and a natural evolution for the management team," Interpublic CEO Michael Roth said in a statement confirming the news. "It acknowledges Matt and Henry's contributions to the agency's achievements and positions them to focus on specific areas in which they can both continue to make key contributions to Mediabrands and IPG going forward."
Mr. Seiler did not respond to requests for comment by deadline. Mr. Tajer could not be reached.
From his perch atop Mediabrands, Mr. Seiler has been a major player in adland, overseeing billions in ad spending across the IPG media agency network, which comprises global buying shops UM, Initiative and BPN as well as specialty shops such as digital and data group Magna Global and barter firm Orion Trading.
Mr. Seiler has lead Mediabrands since January 2011, when he rose from CEO of UM. Prior to joining UM in 2008, he served in numerous media roles at Omnicom agencies.
His rise to Mediabrands CEO in 2011 simultaneously opened the UM CEO spot for Jacki Kelley and gave Initiative the occasion to boast: "We're confident Matt and Jacki, joined by Initiative CEO Richard Beaven and Mediabrands Ventures CEO Matt Freeman, give us the strongest team of media leaders in the business." Mr. Freeman and Mr. Beaven both left IPG soon after. Ms. Kelley left the company early last year to become chief operating officer at Bloomberg Media.
Like Mr. Seiler, Mr. Tajer rose to Mediabrands after holding high positions at UM. Before taking on the global COO role at Mediabrands last year, he had been executive chairman of UM Australia and, prior to that, UM Australia's CEO.
The move comes weeks after Interpublic nominated three new board members and saw two others exit the board in a settlement with activist investor Elliott Management. Elliott last summer disclosed that it had taken the equivalent of a 6.7% stake in the agency holding company, saying it sought "constructive dialogue" with IPG's board on "steps to maximize shareholder value." People familiar with Elliott expected the firm to push for an IPG sale.
During Mr. Seiler's time at Mediabrands, he led a profitable business for IPG but also saw frequent changes to the ranks beneath him. He changed the structure of the network, for example, grouping global regions into clusters and creating roles to oversee those clusters.
A handful of executives like Ms. Kelley left to assume roles outside the agency business. Sarah Personette left after a stint as U.S. CEO of UM to join Facebook in a global business marketing position. Kristi Argyilan, who was North America president of Magna Global, left last May to be senior VP-media at Target.
Others, like Yin Woon Rani and Nick Pahade, were hired in senior roles in 2011 and 2012 but departed in a 2013 shakeup as Mr. Seiler appointed new leaders across his agencies.
The company more recently moved former BPN U.S. president Liz Ross into a newly created chief marketing role for Mediabrands and hired Eleven President Rob Kabus to run BPN. Under Mr. Seiler, Mediabrands built BPN from scratch, adding a third agency to the network.
SENIOR DEPARTURES IN THE LAST TWO YEARS
U.S. CEO of UM until August 2014, now global business marketing executive at Facebook
Exec VP and managing director at UM until September 2014, now U.S. CEO of Omnicom's PHD
Global CEO of BPN until July 2014, now global CEO of WPP out-of-home group Kinetic Worldwide
North America president of Magna Global until May 2014, now senior VP-media, Target
CEO for North America and president of global clients at IPG Mediabrands until June 2014, now chief operating officer at Bloomberg Media
CEO of Mediabrands Audience Platform and Cadreon until April 2013, now co-founder of media and ad tech consultancy Unbound
Chief marketing and ideas officer for Mediabrands until December 2013, now iHeartMedia exec VP and CMO
Chief communications officer at IPG Mediabrands until February 2014
Global CFO for Mediabrands until April 2014, now CFO at Iconix Brand Group
President of clients and services for Mediabrands G-14 markets until May 2014
CEO of Interpublic's MagnaGlobal until October 2013
Yin Woon Rani
North America president of UM until February 2013, now VP integrated marketing at Campbell Soup Company
North America president of Initiative until February 2013, now CEO of Poptent