Published on .

April 11, 2001

By Richard Linnett

NEW YORK ( -- Initiative Media North America has made promotions in its top management, almost

Carolyn Bivens is the new president and COO.
one month following the high-profile departure of its chief operating officer, Mike Lotito.

Carolyn Bivens, 48, formerly managing director of the Western region, has been named president and chief operating officer, and James Bell, 53, formerly managing director, Eastern region, has been shuffled over to Initiative Media One-to-One Marketing, or IM121, where he'll be president and chief operating officer. IM121 is a new business unit specializing in relationship marketing.

Running one shop
Initiative Media, owned by Interpublic Group of Cos., claimed more than $7 billion in U.S. billings last year and will no longer be divided by East and West regions. Its 20 U.S. offices and 1,600 employees will instead be run as a whole by Ms. Bivens.

"It will be much easier for us to be consistent

James Bell was named CEO of IM121.
and to focus," Ms. Bivens said. "This benefits our clients."

Before joining Initiative last July, Ms. Bivens had worked at USA Today for more than 18 years. She was senior vice president of advertising and associate publisher, overseeing advertising, sports marketing and operations for the paper's domestic and international editions and its Web site,

Ms. Bivens' new responsibilities will also include managing Initiative's direct client business and overseeing other Initiative units such as Casablanca Productions, corporate communications, directory services, local and national broadcast, motivational incentives group (MIG), promotion house and information technology (IT).

'Glass half full'
"I'm really excited about this," Ms. Bivens said. "This is a terrific agency. We've got so many initiatives under way. And I think this economy has actually afforded us the opportunity to go after new business. It's the glass half full. Nobody really wants this kind of economy, but there are ways to make lemonade out of it."

Bruce Silverman, president of Initiative Partners, an Initiative unit that works exclusively with advertising agency clients, will continue to report to Ms. Bivens, who in turn will report to Lou Schultz and will be based in Initiative's Los Angeles office. The New York office, while losing Mr. Bell as its managing director, retains Larry Orell as its executive vice president and general manager.

As the new CEO of the IM121, Mr. Bell will be responsible for overseeing all of the agency's relationship marketing ventures.

The departure of Mr. Lotito in March was not a surprise in the media industry. Mr. Lotito, who came to Initiative from Ammirati Puris Lintas, was a gregarious, articulate COO more suited, according to many media insiders, to the role of CEO. He is now spearheading an ambitious new online media joint venture between WPP, IPG and Omnicom.

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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