Initiative's Amy Armstrong promoted to global CEO, as Mat Baxter becomes chair

Baxter will serve as chair of Initiative before taking up a new leadership role at IPG focused on 'transforming and elevating' other areas of the group's portfolio.

Iniaitive: Armstrong (left) and Baxter
Iniaitive: Armstrong (left) and Baxter

Initiative has elevated US chief executive Amy Armstrong to a global remit, as the agency's current leader Mat Baxter is set to take on a new leadership role at parent company Interpublic Group.

Baxter, who has been global CEO of the media agency for four-and-a-half years, has been handed a global chairman role at Initiative, which he will carry out for the remainder of 2021. He will take up an additional leadership position at IPG "in the coming months".

Australia-born Baxter has been with IPG for more than 10 years, joining in 2010 as CEO of UM Worldwide. He relocated to New York in August 2015 to become global chief strategy and creative officer at IPG Mediabrands. He took up the Initiative mantle one year later.

IPG CEO Philippe Krakowsky said Baxter has "led a transformation" at Initiative, which he noted was one of the network's fastest-growing businesses and the top media agency network in terms of global new-business momentum.

"We’re excited to have him look at other areas of our portfolio that he can help transform and elevate," Krakowsky said.

Armstrong has been leading Initiative's US business for four years and is credited with transforming the agency's operations, driving its business success and championing diversity and inclusion.

Daryl Lee, chairman and CEO of IPG Mediabrands, called Armstrong a "fearless competitor and a true client partner who has built an agency to be reckoned with in the US".

"Her commitment to her clients, to her people, and to building a strong, inclusive culture where everyone feels valued is unrivalled," he said.

She has held leadership roles at various IPG agencies for more than 20 years.

In December 2018, Baxter raised some eyebrows by advising his clients to avoid advertising on Facebook's platforms in a post on LinkedIn.

That came about 18 months before last year's widespread US-focused advertiser boycott of Facebook.

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