Effective May 1, Matt Seiler will step down as global CEO of IPG Mediabrands, replaced by Henry Tajer, who was named global COO in 2014. Tajer will relocate full-time to New York from Sydney, where he currently spends a portion of his time in his role as CEO of the group’s Australian operations. Seiler will remain as Mediabrands Chairman through 2015.
It’s the second major piece of restructuring IPG has done this week and follows last month’s peace treaty with activist investor Elliott Management, which forestalled a proxy fight, committed Elliott to a “standstill” IPG stock acquisition agreement and added new board directors. Earlier this week IPG consolidated its Lowe and FCB healthcare agency networks.
However, sources insisted that both of the moves had been long in the planning and were not a reaction to Elliott’s demands for greater profitability at the holding company.
In fact, sources said the company has been planning a healthcare reorganization for years. And in a memo issued today to Mediabrands staffers by IPG CEO Michael Roth, he wrote that when Tajer, 44, was named Mediabrands COO in January of 2014, it was “in preparation for his promotion to CEO.” At that point only the timing was to be decided.
The expectation is that Tajer, whose client skills are revered within the company, will take Mediabrands to new and higher levels of revenue and business development success.
That said, IPG’s Roth credited Seiler for accomplishments on a number of fronts. “IPG Mediabrands has consistently shown itself to be on the vanguard of the industry in terms of thought leadership, digital capabilities and new operating models, as well as bringing a high degree of accountability to its client engagements,” he said. “Today’s announcement is part of a long-term game plan and a natural evolution for the management team. It acknowledges Matt and Henry’s contributions to the agency’s achievements and positions them to focus on specific areas in which they can both continue to make key contributions to Mediabrands and IPG going forward.”
In his role as chairman for the balance of this year, Seiler will focus on the company’s “broad strategic vision for the group,” Roth said.
Roth characterized Tajer as “a great media executive, who is valued by our people, clients and media partners. He’s made Australia one of the growth engines for our network, with a vibrant and collaborative work environment in which new capabilities continue to come to the fore.”
Seiler, 52, was named CEO of Mediabrands in January 2011, after a two-plus-year stint as Global CEO at one of them firm’s big media agencies, UM. Before that he had been North American CEO of Omnicom’s PHD. Earlier he held roles at Omnicom Corporate and BBDO.
This story has been updated.