Dan Johns exits IPG Mediabrands as four senior executives depart in major restructure

IPG Mediabrands has been hit by a mass exodus of senior executives led by the departure of chief operating officer Dan Johns as part of a major restucture.

Johns one of four senior executives leaving IPG

IPG confirmed Johns resigned from the group last week and Mumbrella understands three other senior IPG executives have also resigned from the company for unrelated reasons.

Others to have left the business in recent days include Mediabrands’ group strategic operations director Kerry Boys, group business operations director Hugo Cutrone and Ansible Australia general manager Timo Kugler.

Johns departure comes as IPG Medibrands CEO Danny Bass announced a major restructure of the business to staff late last week.

The restructure, described by Bass in an internal memo as the emergence of a “new Mediabrands”, will see the business focus the “three powerhouse brands”, UM, Initiative and Reprise.

“The courses for both Initiative and UM are clearly set with very strong market positioning – in UM’s case it’s Better Science, Better Art, Better Outcomes. For Initiative, it’s the Cultural Branding Agency,” Bass said in the memo seen by Mumbrella.

The move will also see Ensemble rebranded as Studio.

“Reprise will become the home and incubator for the development for the many skills sets that are critical to the group now and into the future. The business has real momentum, having won about $4 million in recent, independent new client wins. Our Search and Social capabilities will be channelled through Reprise, but at all times working with our agencies and clients.

“In the Mobility space, Ansible will be moving away from its media work to focus on the Enterprise sector, as well as continue developing their brilliant mobility marketing solutions, competitions and promotions. Ensemble will transition to a new business called Studio. This will be a creative strategy, experiential and content production capability that will launch as a group resource later this year and be part of an international network of Studio-style businesses.”

Bass told staff as a result of the restructure, Johns had decided not to remain with the business.

“In working through our plans for the new Mediabrands, Dan Johns has elected not to be part of the new structure and has resigned from the business. Dan has done so much for Mediabrands and we wish him the very best for the future” Bass said.

“I am acutely aware of the significance of these changes and please be patient as we work through the transition to the new Mediabrands. I am even more aware of the scale of change we need to set the stage for the future. As I said, we are making these decisions known to you now, rather than taking a longer-term option of a series of announcements.”

Johns joined IPG in 2013 after being sensationally ousted from Ikon along with national digital director Ellie Rogers, people and culture director Leonie Kerley and a number of other staff.

His move to IPG was hailed as a coup by then chairman Henry Tajer, with Johns initially taking on the role of commercial director.

He was promoted to the role of chief operating officer in April last year after Reg Davidson was elevated to the regional CFO role. Davidson left IPG in July, as part of the fallout from the exit of Tajer from the global IPG Mediabrands CEO role earlier this year.

Johns joined Ikon in 2003 to head the Commonwealth Bank relationship and rose to become CEO in 2011 before moving to IPG four years ago.

IPG Mediabrands confirmed his departure from the agency in a short statement.

“IPG Mediabrands has announced that the group’s chief operating officer Dan Johns has resigned from the business,” the statement said.

“Johns said he had enjoyed his senior role at Mediabrands and wished the group every success,” it continued.

Mediabrands CEO Danny Bass said that in a four-plus year career at Mediabrands Johns had made major contributions to the success of the group.

“We wish Dan the very best in his next career decision,” Bass said in the statement

Kerry Boys

Kerry Boys, who has also left the group, joined IPG as a business consultant in 2013 from Carat Australia, where she as head of strategy. She was promoted to group strategic operations director in April last year at the same time Johns was named COO.

Hugo Cutrone

Hugo Cutrone came across from UM to IPG Mediabrands in 2015 taking on the group operations role.

Timo Kugler

Ansible Australia general manager Timo Kugler also crossed over from UM to take on the job in 2015.


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