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Four Managing Partners Take Over Following Seiler's Defection to IPG
The announcement that Interpublic will align the planning and buying assets of Universal McCann and Initiative under the Mediabrands banner comes about eight months after the holding company formed a task force, chaired by Mr. Brien, to streamline operations of the global media networks by focusing on back-office inefficiencies.
Brien's broad domain
Under the new structure, Mr. Brien will manage Universal McCann and Initiative as well as Interpublic's centralized negotiation unit Magna, though the company reasserted in a statement that Initiative and Universal McCann will continue to operate as independent entities aligned with full-service marketing partners (McCann Worldgroup and DraftFCB).
Interpublic's media operations have suffered in recent years; one executive close to the matter estimated that the unit lost about $40 million in 2006. However, media operations are likely to be up by that much this year, thanks in part to cost-cutting and Initiative's strong new-business showing in North America: In the past year, Initiative has won Hyundai/Kia and Cadbury Schweppes (now the Dr Pepper Snapple Group).
Mr. Seiler's challenge will be to extend some of that new-business momentum to Universal McCann, which has suffered a new-business drought in the U.S. in recent years.
Hudes hired from Clear Channel
In addition to Mr. Seiler, Interpublic has also recruited Michael Hudes, the global director of digital media for Clear Channel, to be president of diversified media services and strategic development at Mediabrands.
"Media's contribution to delivering marketing break-through has never been greater and we are committed to doing what is necessary to reinvent the media agency model as we know it," Mr. Brien said in a statement. "The fact that two world-class talents such as Matt Seiler and Michael Hudes are joining us not only validates our vision for IPG Mediabrands, it gives me even greater confidence that we can successfully build on our recent momentum."