Mat Baxter named global head of Initiative

Less than a year after he was named global chief strategy and creative officer at IPG Mediabrands, former UM Australia CEO Mat Baxter has been named the new global head of Initiative.

Mat Baxter named new global head of Initiative

Mat Baxter named new global head of Initiative

Baxter takes over from CEO Jim Elms, who has been named chairman of Initiative and will also add the responsibilities of managing director of Interpublic.

Naming Baxter to the role, IPG Mediabrands global CEO Henry Tajer said that it heralded a new era for Initiative.

“Anyone who knows Mat will tell you that his energy, exceptional strategic skills and commitment to the business will instantly be felt around the Initiative network,” Tajer said.

“Mat will enhance Jim’s long-term vision and client focus, and together, they will propel the network to new heights and reaffirm Initiative’s position as unexpected and daring.”

Baxter said the role was a rare chance to reshape the brand.

“The opportunity to take an agency like Initiative and reshape it to best serve our clients and our people is a dream come true for me,” Baxter said.

“Initiative is ideally positioned for growth and innovation – it has the all the capabilities and resources of a large full-service agency, but is nimble enough to allow for flexibility in how we service our clients.”

Baxter’s elevation to the New York role last year was seen as the last peice of the puzzle in Tajer’s reshaping of IPG Mediabrands with his own Australian entourage which includes John Sintras and Di Richardson – both poached from Starcom Mediavest – Mediabrands’ own Travis Johnson – who was tapped for global head of mobile; the boss of its programmatic platform Cadreon Marc Lomas; and Charles Goldbold who will lead global auditing.

Jim Elms now chairman of Initiative

Jim Elms now chairman of Initiative

In his new role Elms will continue to report to Tajer while also reporting to Philippe Krakowsky, chief strategy and talent officer of IPG and chairman of IPG Mediabrands.

Krakowsky said the role would enhance cross business collaboration.

“Jim will be an important asset as we continue to increase the level of collaboration across the IPG network with our media offerings,” Krakowsky said.

“Media increasingly serves as the connective tissue for the full range of marketing activities we deliver on clients’ behalf. In his new role at IPG, Jim will further enhance our ability to access resources from across the group so as to deliver on the promise of integration.”

The move is the latest change at Initiative with Australian CEO Lee Leggett leaving the role last week after two years at the helm.

The announcement of her departure came just a day after it was revealed that Omnicom’s Leigh Terry had been poached to become IPG Mediabrands APAC boss.


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