Initiative promotes Mat Baxter to chair, Amy Armstrong to global CEO

Mat Baxter, the New York-based, Australian ad man, has been elevated to global chair of Initiative, leaving the global CEO role open for US CEO Amy Armstrong to fill.

Baxter, who stepped into the global chief executive position in 2016, will also take on an additional leadership role at IPG that the holding group plans to announce in the coming months.

Mat Baxter

“During his tenure as CEO, Mat has brought a strategic lens, as well as a focus on culture and creativity as the key drivers of consumer media engagement,” said IPG’s CEO, Philippe Krakowsky.

“This has led to a transformation at Initiative, making it one of our fastest-growing businesses and the top media agency network in terms of global new business momentum.

“Mat has the ability to attract and develop top talent, and under his leadership the Initiative team has seen significant evolution, with clients turning to the network for advice and solutions across a broader range of marketing challenges. We’re excited to have him look at other areas of our portfolio that he can help transform and elevate.”

Daryl Lee, the chair and CEO of Mediabrands – IPG’s media investment business – added: “Mat has transformed Initiative into a global trailblazer as CEO, and while he will be missed at Mediabrands when he moves on at the end of this year, he leaves the agency in great hands.”

Armstrong has held various roles across IPG agencies for more than 20 years, and joined Initiative in 2016. Under her leadership, the business has won accounts including Nintendo, T-Mobile, Liberty Mutual, and Gilead.

Krakowsky said that Baxter’s “long-time partner … has played a key role in Initiative’s strong record of success in recent years”. Her promotion “ensures that the positive trajectory for Initiative and its clients can continue,” he said.

Before she joined Initiative, Armstrong led BPN Worldwide and was president of ID Media. Lee noted that she is a “fearless competitor and a true client partner who has built an agency to be reckoned with in the US”.

“Her commitment to her clients, to her people, and to building a strong, inclusive culture where everyone feels valued is unrivalled,” he said.

“I am excited to see what dazzling new heights she can help Initiative scale as their global leader.”


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