Press Release


Alec Gerster Named CEO at Initiative Media Worldwide

April 5, 2002 at 12:00 AM EST

Marie-Jose Forissier Appointed Chairman

New York, April 5,2002 -- The Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE:IPG) announced today that it had named Alec Gerster Chief Executive Officer of its Initiative Media Worldwide unit, one of the world's leading media services companies. Mr. Gerster, 54, joins Initiative from Grey Global Group, where he was CEO of MediaCom and also oversaw a number of other businesses in the digital, co-marketing and event marketing areas. In his new position, Mr. Gerster will lead an organization that operates 85 offices around the world and manages media planning and buying for leading multinational marketers. Initiative's billings in 2001 were $20.1 billion.

Mr. Gerster will join Initiative effective April 22 and report directly to David Bell, Vice Chairman of Interpublic. In a related development, Interpublic announced that Marie-Jose Forissier, Initiative's Worldwide President and Chief Operating Officer, has been promoted to Chairman as an acknowledgement of her role in Initiative Worldwide's growth and a signal of her continued leadership in moving the company forward.

“We are extremely pleased to have someone of Alec's caliber to lead Initiative,” said Mr. Bell. “Over the past decade, he established and grew MediaCom around the world, shaping what is undoubtedly one the highest quality providers of media services in the business today. He has also taken them into new areas such as digital marketing, communications planning and a range of new capabilities to match today's complex media environment. His experience spans the domestic and international arenas, which will be significant as he partners with Marie-Jose Forissier to help our clients manage and maximize their media investments globally. As important, from the beginning, Alec has demonstrated an exceptional ability to work closely with an agency network partner, while simultaneously running an independent media operation.”

“I am looking forward to this new challenge and to applying my experience in the media business on the largest and most global scale,” said Mr. Gerster. “Initiative Worldwide is a leading name internationally, its capabilities and focus at the local level are equally powerful and it has within it terrific companies and talented individuals. Media are currently going through considerable and exciting changes. I can't think of a better platform from which to influence and participate in the evolution than Initiative Worldwide and the Interpublic Group of Companies.”

Mr. Gerster began his career at Grey in 1972, working in the media department on range of client businesses. By 1981, he had risen to the post of Executive Vice President of Media Services and was a member of the agency's Policy Council. As media became unbundled and moved internationally in the latter part of the 1980s, he became head of Grey's MediaCom unit and was instrumental in building the company's presence and its brand around the world, both through organic growth and acquisitions. As CEO of MediaCom, Mr. Gerster headed a media organization with $11 billion in billings, operating across 60 countries. In 2001, MediaCom posted over $1 billion in new business wins. Mr.Gerster is a past president of the AAAAs Media Policy Council and Vice Chairman of the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Initiative Media Worldwide is among the world's leading media services companies, operating 85 offices throughout the world. The company manages the media planning and buying for a wide array of leading corporations including Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, Cisco Systems, The Home Depot and America Online Inc. Initiative Media Worldwide's 2001 billings were $20.1 billion.