Initiative poaches IAG’s Tom Dodd but then assists in finding his replacement

Initiative has brought across IAG’s head of media Tom Dodds as the agency’s new national strategy director, and has at the same time assisted its client to fill the vacated role with the the appointment of Mark Echo.

Dodd joins the IPG Medbiabrands agency in its Melbourne office, and will report directly to chief strategy and product officer, Chris Colter.

Initiative joined its client IAG in a collaborative recruiting process, selecting Mark Echo to fill the role vacated by Dodd. Echo joins IAG with 15 years of agency experience, most recently having worked as client partner for Meta.

L-R: Tom Dodd and Chris Colter

“Tom is one of the most intelligent and charismatic media strategists in the industry, and one of the most awarded,” said Colter. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to have him join our team and personally, having worked with Tom closely in various iterations, I am pumped to get the band back together.”

Colter praised Dodd as an “exceptional collaborator” with “extensive experience leading agency villages”, adding that his “‘client-side’ perspective” would make him an invaluable asset to Initiative’s team.

Dodd joins the agency with almost two decades of media planning and strategy experience across Australia and the UK, having spent over four years with IAG managing the media business across its brand portfolio (NRMA Insurance, CGU, WFI and Rollin).

Dodd commented: “I’ve loved my time client side, and feel blessed to have worked on such an iconic brand and with equally iconic people.

“These days clients look for interesting ideas and experiences to solve their business challenges, so I’m excited to be joining an agency that has such strong momentum and I think is delivering best in class media thinking.”

Mark Echo will fill the role vacated by Dodd after a collaborative recruitment process

IAG handed its media account to Initiative in July 2021, following a six-week pitch-process that saw the insurance brand end its six year partnership with WPP media agency Mindshare.

Of Echo’s appointment, IAG acting CMO, Zara Curtis, said: “Tom leaves with our absolute blessing to join our agency Initiative and we are thrilled with the smooth hand over and exceptional hire we have made collaborating with Initiative in the appointment of Mark.

She added: “Mark’s obsession and unique approach to customer centricity using data, tech, creativity and media will help take our strategy, media thinking and data capabilities to the next level to solve even bigger business problems now and into the future.”

Curtis has been acting in the CMO role since October, after Brent Smart’s move to Telstra earlier in the year. Smart had been with IAG for five years, joining the insurance group in 2017 following a stint in New York as Saatchi & Saatchi CEO.

Curtis was herself hired as IAG’s director of content and customer engagement by Smart in 2018.


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