‘Business as usual’ at Ensemble after another boss moves to Initiative

IPG Mediabrands has insisted it is business as usual at its branded entertainment operation Ensemble after boss Michael Stanford became the latest member of the management team to move across to sister agency Initiative.

Stanford, MD at Ensemble, has become chief creative solutions officer at sister agency Initiative Australia, reuniting him with CEO Mel Fein.

Melissa Fein and Michael Stanford

Initiative CEO Melissa Fein and Michael Stanford

The newly-created role will see Stanford, who has a 25-year-career in advertising and media, “lead the development and direction of creative content across the myriad of media channels engaged by Initiative’s clients”, a statement from the agency said. 

Stanford’s move across to Initiative comes just eight months after he was appointed to the MD role at Ensemble – and two months after Melissa Fein switched from CEO of Ensemble, to CEO of Initiative.

The move is the third time Fein and Stanford have worked together – they both joined Ensemble from Network Ten’s client solutions department Generate .

Despite the numerous shuffles, Mumbrella was assured it is “business as usual” at Ensemble, with Harry Preston, who was promoted to MD in November, steering the agency forward. It appears that the agency will no longer have a CEO under the new structure.

Harry Preston promoted to MD of Ensemble

Harry Preston was promoted to MD of Ensemble in November

It is less than a year since Ensemble founder and CEO Justin Ricketts, and MD Tim Hodgson, were ousted to make way for Fein.

In December, former Mindshare strategist John Dawson also joined Initiative as communications design director, following a short stint with Ensemble.

Stanford’s appointment, which “almost completes the management team of the new Initiative Australia”, will help differentiate the agency, Fein said.

“We are placing Mike in this vital new position because of his highly effective track record in tailoring and directing creative content to the most relevant points of people’s relationships and interests in brands. He has rare skills and instincts in blending creativity with media delivery and his role is a key aspect of the differentiated offer we are evolving for clients at Initiative.”

On his new role Stanford said: “The intersection between creativity and media is a very valuable place to be in people’s brand relationships. My focus will be to bring our clients’ brands to that point of maximum relevance in how people engage in their consumer journey.”

Initiative is also searching for a chief partnerships officer.


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