Mike Tunnicliffe, 44, becomes chief strategic officer for Initiative North America. Since joining Initiative in 2000, Mr. Tunnicliffe was executive vice president of Initiative Worldwide, based in London.
In 2004, Mr. Tunnicliffe was involved in some of the media agency's highest-profile reviews. He was a key player on the team that participated in Interpublic's bid to win the global creative and media HSBC review and a 10-market European review for Unilever. Interpublic lost the HSBC pitch to a team of WPP Group agencies, and the Unilever review to WPP's MindShare. Initiative in recent months lost part of media planning and buying for Samsung after a global review. Late last year, Initiative successfully partnered with sibling Universal McCann to help it retain General Motor Corp.'s media planning and buying across Europe.
Michael Roth, CEO of Interpublic, has said that finding a way to make the company's media operations -- meaning both Initiative and Universal McCann -- more competitive is a top priority.
Alec Gerster, CEO of Initiative Worldwide, said, "We were in a lot of high-profile reviews last year. We just want to come out victorious in more of them."
To that end, Mr. Tunnicliffe will have to find the right people, tools and resources at Initiative for current clients as well as for new ones.
What clients want
In the 1990s, Mr. Tunnicliffe was a senior executive at Tempus Group/CIA, a publicly traded media agency purchased by WPP Group in 2001. "A lot of my background work [at Tempus] was on development," Mr. Tunnicliffe said experience he will need to put to use in his new role. "To get a network to work, you've got to put in product, processes and people all on the same page," he said. "Job No. 1 is to look at the product here in the U.S. I don't know as much about the U.S. market, but I do know what clients want in other parts of the world. A larger part of the job as I see it will be to get a consistency of offering."
Mr. Tunnicliffe will report to Mr. Gerster. In November 2003 Mr. Tunnicliffe was in talks with Mr. Gerster for a top U.S. job, but the timing, Mr. Gerster said today, "wasn't right."