Mediabrands 'Operationalizes' Innovation, Taps Former Digital Chief George To Do It

Matt Seiler moved another chess piece in his creeping reorganization of Interpublic's Mediabrands unit, naming Quentin George chief innovations officer, a new position inside the $32 billion agency holding company media services unit. George, who had been Mediabrands' chief digital officer, will now have oversight of Interpublic's Media Lab, a new as-yet-undisclosed "virtual lab," its Magna Global media marketplace intelligence unit, and other related operations, including media start-up incubator Velociter.

The appointment is the latest in a sweeping series of changes made by Seiler since he was named CEO of Mediabrands, which has also significantly downplayed the "ventures"-oriented strategy of former Mediabrands Ventures chief Matt Freeman (now at McCann Worldgroup), in favor of an organization that strengthens Mediabrands media services networks: Initiative, UM, and a soon-to-be-unveiled third one.

"That's where Quentin comes in," Seiler said in a statement in Thursday's announcement, alluding that George would effectively become the chief architect of building an organization within Mediabrands that leverages all the intelligence gathering of its most innovative operations to strengthen its clients' businesses.



George was not available at presstime, but Interpublic insiders said the new "virtual lab" is especially interesting, because it leverages technology across Mediabrands global organization to create insights, best practices, and help identify new, cutting-edge opportunities that can be shared market-to-market, and operating unit to operation unit.

The move follows related reorganizations, including the move of former Lab Managing Director Brian Monahan to head of Magna, and the appointment of Reuben Steiger to sole head of the lab's operations. It also coincides with the launch of Interpublic's new lab in New York City, which is near opening and will be the physical epicenter of all of Interpublic's next-generation R&D.

The integration of the labs, Magna and Velociter into one centralized organization within Mediabrands gives the combined entities "more organizational commitment to operationalize innovation," explained one Interpublic insider.

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