Ansible global boss Travis Johnson out of Mediabrands as fallout from Tajer departure spreads

Ansible global president Travis Johnson has become the latest IPG Mediabrands executive to have been culled from the group following the sensational departure of Mediabrands’ global CEO Henry Tajer in May.

Travis Johnson- Mumbrella Perth 2015 3

Travis Johnson the latest Australian to leave Mediabrands in massive shakeup

In what appears to be an ongoing assault on executives with Australian connections, Johnson joins a number of other senior Australian IPG staffers airlifted into New York by Tajer as part of his transformation of the business who have now been removed from their roles.

IPG announced in May that Tajer was leaving the global leadership role he had been promoted only to two years previously. His departure triggered a series of other senior executive moves including former Starcom Australian boss John Sintras, who was brought to New York as Tajer’s right-hand man, and Asia Pacific CFO Reg Davidson, whose departure was announced in July.

A spokesperson confirmed Johnson’s departure in an email to Mumbrella stating simply: “We can confirm that he’s no longer actively involved in the leadership of Ansible as we work through a transition period.”

The wording matched the language Mediabrands has used in confirming other departures.

Johnson was recruited from Mnet by Tajer in June of 2015, highlighting his success in driving the company as a global leader.

As well as being global president of Ansible, Johnson was also head of IPG Media Lab in New York.

Johnson was not available for comment on the statement from Mediabrands.

However, the executive has been seen as one of the rising stars of the business and was handpicked by Tajer to run the global mobile business which has been one of the leading divisions at Medibrands over the past four years.

In May, US publication Adweek named Johnson one of the top 15 most innovative leaders in media buying and planning.

The split with Mediabrands ends a 12-year stint for Johnson with the group, having led both UM and Initiative in Australia.

He also launched independent digital agency Cadreon in Australia in 2011.

Over the past four years Ansible has become the most awarded mobile agency in the world according to some measures, with more than 100 awards globally.

The agency had also grown to 25 offices in 19 countries.

Tajer’s original Entourage | Artwork: Elke Aspillera

Dubbed Tajer’s “Entourage”, half a dozen Australians made the trek to New York to join his reinvention of Mediabrands including Johnson, Sintras, Mat Baxter, Di Richardson, Cadreon boss Marc Lomas and audit specialist Charles Godbold.

Only Baxter, Richardson and Godbold remain, with Lomas having joined Amazon.

Tajer also recruited Omnicom’s Leigh Terry to become APAC CEO of Mediabrands with Terry still in the role.

Sources close to the situation have blamed the sudden shift on push back in the US against the scale of change Tajer was introducing, while at the same time the direction of the business pivoted away from Tajer’s model.

However, critics of Tajer’s approach have accused the businesses of scaling up too quickly while not matching the agency growth with new business.


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