IPG Takes Unexpected Turn with Media CEO Selection: Roth Opts for Former MTV Exec over Agency Type

By McClellan, Steve | ADWEEK, May 16, 2005 | Go to article overview

IPG Takes Unexpected Turn with Media CEO Selection: Roth Opts for Former MTV Exec over Agency Type


McClellan, Steve, ADWEEK


NEW YORK Over the past few months, Interpublic Group has searched high and low for an executive to fill a newly created position to oversee the company's media-agency operations and get them back on track. By last week, the candidates had been narrowed to two, an agency executive and a cable network veteran. In the end, the cable guy won.

The decision to hire a media seller rather than a media-agency type surprised some industry insiders. But overall reaction from analysts was positive. "The hiring addresses one of the biggest issues for IPG, the perception of weak media-buying capabilities," said Deutsche Bank's Paul Ginocchio in a note to investors.

Last Thursday, Mark Rosenthal, 53, signed on to become chairman and CEO of the as-yet-untitled IPG corporate entity that will oversee media buying and planning agencies Initiative and Universal McCann, negotiating arm Magna Global and a cluster of boutique shops that specialize in areas including branded entertainment, interactive and barter. He starts the first week of June.

In part, IPG's creation of an fiber media executive post was designed to forestall client defections such as that of General Motors, which last week moved an estimated $3.2 billion of its buying to Publicis Groupe after a review (see page 10).

Rosenthal has spent his entire career in cable, mostly at Viacom's MTV Networks and its predecessor company, Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment Co., which he joined in 1982. …

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