Initiative promotes Sam Geer to national MD, Chris Colter becomes chief strategy officer

Initiative’s Sam Geer has been elevated from chief strategy officer, a position he has held since August 2018, to national managing director. Chris Colter, formerly the agency’s national strategy director, will fill the chief strategy officer spot.

The promotions come a month after IPG Mediabrands cut hours, began a hiring freeze, paused pay rises and discretionary spending, and acknowledged there would be a small number of redundancies in response to COVID-19.

CEO Melissa Fein said Geer earned the promotion with his “trailblazing strategy leadership”.


“We are placing Sam in this key management role to offer him a broader platform for his talents,” she said.

“He has been a key driver of our mission to bring cultural relevance to brands and accelerate their growth. His trailblazing strategy leadership has been a key ingredient to our growth over the past 18 months and this new position will allow him to infuse his skills more broadly across the agency.”

Fein added that Colter offers the agency “proven world-class strategic leadership”.

“His credits are truly extensive, from winning the Global Cannes Young Lions competition, leading cultural campaigns like Tourism Australia’s Dundee, to being named Campaign Asia’s Strategy Planner of the Year,” she said.

“More recently, Chris has been an integral part of Initiative’s new business success as well as delivering strong business outcomes for our clients.”


Before joining the agency as chief strategy officer, Geer was previously with IPG Mediabrands’ stablemate UM, and Colter also joined from UM, where he spent seven years in strategy roles before hopping over to Initiative last year.

“I’m exceptionally proud of what we have built at Initiative. With the depth of talent, portfolio of brands and momentum we have in market we are well placed to be a leading agency for years to come,” Geer said of his new role.

Colter added that he has “definitely got some big shoes to fill, but with a team of industry leading strategists, entrepreneurial leadership and trailblazing product surrounding me I could not be more excited for the opportunity.”

So far this year, Initiative has won Goodman Fielder, Aussie Home Loans and Pernod Ricard, adding to a string of wins last year including Carnival Australia, Lotterywest, Deliveroo, Fujitsu, Australian Radio Network, Remedy and KPMG. In the past 12 months, the agency has retained 100% of clients as the incumbent in reviews.

Elsewhere in IPG Mediabrands, Victor Corones departed Magna earlier this month, after the company’s COVID-19 recovery plan was revealed. He had spent 15 years with the holding group and is “tak[ing] some time out to consider his next career step”.


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