Press Release


Alec Gerster to Retire from Initiative

January 31, 2008 at 10:28 AM EST

Will be Succeeded as Worldwide Chairman and CEO by Richard Beaven

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 31, 2008--The Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG) announced today that Alec Gerster will retire from his position as Chairman and CEO Initiative Worldwide, effective March 1. Richard Beaven, currently Chairman and CEO, Initiative North America, will succeed Mr. Gerster.

"It's rewarding to see the progress that we have made at Initiative during the last six years," said Mr. Gerster. "I am proud of the talent we have put in place across the organization and the quality of the work we are doing in many markets around the world. Not least of which is Richard's performance. Since joining the company in 2006, Richard has done an outstanding job managing our North America operation and has proven that he is a world-class media professional. I look forward to continuing to work with him and the entire management team to ensure a seamless transition. With the team in place and our recent successes it is exciting to now have the time and opportunity to focus on the growing world of enhanced digital television, which has become an area of high personal interest for me."

Mr. Gerster joined Initiative in April 2002 to oversee worldwide operations in 58 markets and a global workforce of over 3,000 employees. Prior to joining Initiative, Mr. Gerster had a distinguished 30-year career at Grey Global group where he served as chief executive officer of MediaCom Worldwide. Under his leadership, the agency became one of the industry's leading global media networks. In addition, he was an executive officer of publicly held Grey Global Group and heavily involved with the Group's pioneering digital activities.

"Alec successfully steered Initiative through a period of unprecedented change in the media industry," said Interpublic Chairman and CEO Michael Roth. "He brought stability to a company that had previously experienced a great deal of management turnover and recruited a talented new team that is embracing digital solutions and evolving a new strategic planning offering. He also succeeded in a task that challenges many chief executives - finding an outstanding successor who is qualified as a practitioner and a leader to take a company forward. Richard is strategic, effective and ideally suited to his new role."

As Chief Executive Officer for Initiative North America, Richard Beaven led the agency's strategy, planning, buying, research and business operations in the United States and Canada. He is also credited with leading the agency's efforts to develop industry-leading communications planning and digital practices. During 2007 Initiative added business from Bayer, Big Lots, Quiznos, Coors and Kao Brands. In recent weeks, the agency also won the highly-coveted Hyundai/Kia and Cadbury Schweppes accounts in protracted reviews against top industry competition.

Before joining Initiative in 2006, Beaven was Executive Vice President, Managing Director for MediaVest USA. In that role, he had management responsibility for Starcom MediaVest Group's Procter & Gamble Communications Planning assignment, the largest advertiser in the United States, as well as developing the agency's digital resources. Prior to working on Procter & Gamble, Mr. Beaven served as Senior Vice President, Management Director, on Coca-Cola also at MediaVest.

Prior to relocating to the United States in 2002, Mr. Beaven played a leading role in the transition of Leo Burnett Media, an in-house United Kingdom media department, into a separate company (Starcom) and the subsequent merger with its sister company, Motive, to form Starcom Motive.

"The focus, momentum and team we have built for the business in North America is energizing," said Mr. Beaven. "I look forward to leading Initiative and working to further develop a media, marketing and digital product that wins for our clients in this dynamic communications environment."

About Initiative

Initiative is ranked by industry indices as one of the world's leading media strategy, planning and buying companies. The global agency network reaches across six continents, with 99 offices operating in 58 countries. Initiative brings together an unparalleled capital of media expertise, global research and technology to deliver effective media communications solutions for marketers to grow brands and build business, including: AOL, Bayer, Calvin Klein Cosmetics, Computer Associates, Continental Tyres, easyGroup, France Telecom, Home Depot, Johnson & Johnson, Patek Philippe, Ricoh, SC Johnson, Samsonite, Storck, Tommy Hilfiger, and Unilever. Initiative is the independent media company of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE:IPG).

About Interpublic

Interpublic is one of the world's leading organizations of advertising agencies and marketing services companies. Major global brands include Draftfcb, FutureBrand, GolinHarris International, Initiative, Jack Morton Worldwide, Lowe Worldwide, MAGNA Global, McCann Erickson, Momentum, MRM Worldwide, Octagon, Universal McCann and Weber Shandwick. Leading domestic brands include Campbell-Ewald, Carmichael Lynch, Deutsch, Hill Holliday, Mullen, The Martin Agency and R/GA. For more information, please visit

CONTACT: Interpublic Group
Philippe Krakowsky, 212-704-1328
Analysts, Investors:
Jerry Leshne, 212-704-1439

SOURCE: Interpublic Group