Kris Magel exits Initiative after more than a decade for role at Dentsu

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Kris Magel speaks onstage at a panel on programmatic TV during AWXI in New York in 2014.
Kris Magel speaks onstage at a panel on programmatic TV during AWXI in New York in 2014. Credit: Andrew Toth/Getty Images for AWXI

Kris Magel is leaving IPG Mediabrands' Initiative, the agency confirmed on Tuesday for a role at Dentsu Aegis Network.

Magel, who just over a year ago was shifted into the role of East Coast president, handles media buying for some of the shop's biggest accounts, including Merck, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Arby's and Papa John's.

"I am truly grateful for the 10 years I've spent at Initiative, which have given me the opportunity to learn, grow and do amazing work for amazing clients. I am excited to start the next chapter and take on new challenges at Dentsu Aegis Network," Magel said in a statement.

Initiative did not reply to a question about who will fill Magel's role.

His departure comes as TV networks this week make their pitch to advertisers in the annual spring upfronts and just weeks before negotiations for ad time heat up.

Magel had previously been the agency's U.S. president since 2015. He was moved to East Coast role after Initiative named Amy Armstrong as the agency's first U.S. CEO in February 2017 and created three regional president roles to get more senior-level coverage on the ground for clients.

The move was seen by some as a downgrade, but at the time of the announcement Mat Baxter, global CEO of Initiative, argued that the new position wasn't a "diluted responsibility" because some of the agency's biggest counts are handled out of the New York office. He added that Mr. Magel had been "spread thin" in terms of overseeing clients nationwide and giving them the attention they needed.

Magel, who joined Initiative in 2007, did not respond to requests to comment. He previously worked at Zenith Media and Optimedia.

After several years of few new business wins and employee turnover, Initiative kicked off a revamp of the agency in 2017. Since then it has won global media duties for Carlsberg Group and Lego, and retained Amazon's business after a competitive review.

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