The G14 unit includes the agencies' operations in Australia,
Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia,
Spain, The Netherlands and the U.K. The World Markets group
includes Austria, Belgium, Greece, the Middle East, Peru, Portugal,
South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and Vietnam.
Jim Hytner, who was president of EMEA, becomes president of the
G14 division, while Mauricio Sabogal, who was worldwide managing
director at Initiative, becomes president of World Markets at
Universal McCann and Initiative.
Mediabrands' global CEO, Matt Seiler, said the move reflects a
change in the way marketers do business, one he claims is less
about geography and more about priorities for growth and
pinpointing where around the globe marketing investment will be
most valuable. He estimates most marketers would say the U.K. and
Japan have more in common than the U.K. and Portugal.
"The fact that one's in Asia and one's in Europe is completely
irrelevant," said Mr. Seiler by phone yesterday, ahead of
Interpublic's investor day, being held today, when he was expected
to discuss the new structure. He noted that language differences
aren't necessarily a top concern anymore. "There will always be a
level within our organizations where there will be a common
business reality that transcends the market differences. Our hope
is to leapfrog where the other agency networks are in order to
better serve our clients based on their actual needs, not just
where those markets fall on globe."
The move is one sign that Mediabrands' new leadership is eager
to shake things up and puts its stamp on the unit. Mr. Seiler and
Jacki Kelley were both promoted in January. He stepped up from his post as global CEO of Universal
McCann, which is the largest agency within Mediabrands, and was
succeeded by Ms. Kelley, who previously served as North American
CEO of UM.
But it's also a move that's not in line with the way marketers
are already structured today -- begging the question of whether
Mediabrands' new plan places it too ahead of the curve. Agency
executives are in the midst of communicating the new reorganization
to clients and employees. For its part, agency executives say
they're OK with not being in lock-step with clients. "Certainly we
are putting in ourselves [in a position] where we are leading
clients ... versus clients requiring it right now -- which is a
position we want to be in," said Ms. Kelley.
Although the move means the two media shops under Mediabrands
are more aligned than in the past, Mr. Seiler said Universal McCann
and Initiative will remain distinct properties.