Initiative drafts UM’s O’Keefe to head up Sydney

Initiative has confirmed the appointment of Mindshare’s Tracie Michael as its new CEO, while Universal McCann’s Chris O’Keefe has also been announced as the new MD of the media agency’s Sydney office.  

The announcement:

Richard Beaven, worldwide CEO of the performance-led media network Initiative, has announced the appointment of Tracie Michael as CEO of Initiative Australia. Ms. Michael is currently managing director of Mindshare Sydney, a position she has held since 2005.

In a further strengthening of Initiative Australia’s senior management ranks, Richard Beaven has also announced the appointment of Chris O’Keefe to be managing director of Initiative Sydney. O’Keefe is currently one of the senior client service directors at Initiative’s sister agency UM. Both companies are part of Mediabrands in Australia.

These two appointments follow the departure of Roger Camplisson who has stepped down as CEO with immediate effect.

Commenting on Roger Camplisson’s departure Richard Beaven said, “Under Roger’s leadership, Initiative in Australia has grown three-fold, moving from the 14th to the 7th largest media agency in Australia. We have seen a sustained and substantial period of business growth, including the challenging economy in 2009 where Initiative was one of only two Top 10 agencies to post growth. After 25 years in media, we understand Roger also has interests in other sectors, we thank him for the significant contribution he has made and wish him well for the future,” he added.

“It is clear that Tracie Michael’s talent and experience makes her the ideal choice to take over at Initiative Australia, to accelerate our overall progress and client relationships,” said Beaven.

Since joining Mindshare Ms. Michael led the agency’s American Express, IBM and Diageo accounts prior to being appointed managing director of the Sydney office. She also led a restructuring of the office and its transition to digital capabilities.

“The opportunity to run a successful national agency that is also part of an iconic global network is an opportunity that rarely presents itself,” said Michael. “Initiative’s positioning as the performance-led network, with a 100% focus on getting the best results for clients is a great fit for my career and I am delighted to be asked to take the CEO role.”

Chris O’Keefe has worked at UM for two years. He started his career in the Brisbane market on retail giant Super Cheap Auto and Flight Centre and has spent the past 9 years in Sydney running diverse accounts including Hyundai, Telstra, David Jones, Audi, Westpac, Nokia and MasterCard.

Henry Tajer, chairman of Mediabrands in Australia, said he was impressed with the new Initiative executives. “Having watched Tracie as a competitor and also seen the strategic and implementation skills Chris possesses, I believe Initiative has a new and potent management combination both nationally and in our largest media market,” said Tajer. “From a Mediabrands perspective Initiative is poised to further accelerate its influence in the market where we will continue to grow two strong and independent media agency brands. It is exciting times,” he added.

Mediabrands Australia, as well as Initiative and UM, also comprises companies including Ensemble (branded entertainment), Reprise (search marketing and social media) and Orion (barter).

Source: Initiative


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