Savic Abruptly Out At UM Months After Being Named Global CEO

Months after being named global CEO of IPG Mediabrands' UM unit, Sasha Savic is out.

"We were told Friday. It was very abrupt," says an IPG executive, adding that the company said the reason was that Savic "wasn't a good fit."

That's surprisingly different language than what IPG Mediabrands used when it announced it had recruited Savic after nearly 11 years as CEO of GroupM's Mediacom, as well as senior roles at Havas Media, Publicis Media and previously at McCann and UM.

"Sasha is a consummate relationship builder who has driven results for some of the world's most iconic brands," said IPG Mediabrands Global CEO Eileen Kiernan said in a statement when she announced his appointment Feb. 6, noting, "His love of the business complements our strong, values-driven global culture, and his will to win and commitment to excellence will supercharge how we show up in the marketplace and for our clients. We are thrilled to welcome him back to the IPG family."



IPG executives implied there is more to the story about Savic's abrupt departure including pressure on IPG Mediabrands agencies to up-sell technology services to clients stemming from its multibillion dollar acquisition of Acxiom, and the consolidation of media and technology services on Interpublic's balance sheet.

It wasn't immediately clear at deadline how Savic's departure related to those pressures, but IPG Mediabrands has named a 14-year UM vet -- Andrea Suarez, previously global president of Thrive, IPG Mediabrands' bespoke unit handling the Nestle account -- as the new global CEO of UM.

The issues burdening IPG Mediabrands appear to precede Savic, and according to insiders have been worsening, with clients increasingly dissatisfied. 

Insiders say there has been a push for the media services units to up-sell clients on “higher margin” offerings including those reliant on Acxiom data and data management units Kinesso and Matterkind.

Interpublic reorganized its financial reporting in January 2022, consolidating media services, data and technology services and digital agencies into a financial reporting segment known as “Media, Data & Engagement Solutions.”
An IPG insider described the push as "nearsighted" and " a need to demonstrate integration" and/or "growth stemming from the $2.3 billion acquisition.

“It’s all about getting to the next quarter.”

Based on anecdotal anonymous conversations UM employees have been sharing on company social media site Fishbowl, it's also beginning to impact the morale of employees feeling the pressure to work excessive hours while open positions remain unfilled, as well as the need to push client business to other high margin areas, such as Interpublic barter media unit, Orion, which is known to be one of its most profitable areas.

MediaPost reached out to IPG Mediabrands for a comment prior to publishing this story. We will update it if/when we receive a comment.

Next story loading loading..