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IPG Clears Way for Reorganization of Media Buying and Planning

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NEW YORK ( -- Interpublic Group of Cos. has made a second major executive move at its media agencies this week, as the chairman and European CEO of media network Initiative is leaving the holding company, executives familiar with the situation said.
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Anticipated reorganization
Interpublic is clearing the way for the anticipated reorganization of its media-buying and -planning networks, a move that will likely entail naming an executive to oversee both Initiative and sibling Universal McCann. Earlier this week, Universal McCann announced it moved Robin Kent out of the top role, naming Chief Operating Officer Murray Dudgeon interim CEO.

Universal McCann is searching for a permanent replacement for Mr. Kent, and Initiative is planning to name a replacement for Marie-Jose Forissier in the near future, these executives said. Initiative CEO Alec Gerster is taking over Ms. Forissier's responsibilities in the interim.

Account wins and losses
Upon taking the reigns of the Interpublic earlier this year, CEO Michael Roth stated that making the company's media operations more competitive was a top priority.

Universal McCann has been reeling from major client defections, such as global marketer Nestle. However, it successfully defended $500 million in billings in a General Motors Corp. European review last year and picked up $200 million in additional business in a consolidation of the carmaker's account (a U.S. media review involving Interpublic sibling Mediaworks was called last week).

McCann parent McCann Worldgroup last week won Intel's $300 million ad and media account.

An Initiative spokeswoman referred questions to an Interpublic representative, who declined comment. Attempts to reach Ms. Forissier were unsuccessful.

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