Beaven takes global helm at Initiative as Gerster retires

By Daniel Farey-Jones,, Thursday, 31 January 2008 04:15PM

LONDON - Alec Gerster, Initiative's worldwide chief executive and chairman, is to retire on March 1 and will be succeeded by Richard Beaven, chief executive and chairman of Initiative North America.

Gerster has been in the role since April 2002 when he joined Initiative after a 30-year career at Grey Global Group, most recently as worldwide chief executive of MediaCom.

Beaven joined Initiative in 2006 from MediaVest USA, where he was executive vice-president and managing director.

Earlier in his career, he played a leading role alongside David Connolly in forming Starcom UK out of Leo Burnett's in-house media department and merging it with Motive.

Gerster's record and succession planning were applauded by Michael Roth, chief executive and chairman of its parent company Interpublic.

Roth said: "Alec successfully steered Initiative through a period of unprecedented change in the media industry.

"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."

Under Beaven, Initiative North America recently won a number of major media accounts including the $800m Hyundai/Kai business and the $150m Cadbury Schweppes business, following Bayer and Coors in 2007.

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