Interpublic moots media offering overhaul

NEW YORK - The Interpublic Group is understood to be planning a major overhaul of its media operations to bolster its offering to clients.

The move comes after several high-profile media losses for the group, which houses media networks Universal McCann and Initiative and media negotiator Magna Global, and comes on top of the announcement of the departure of Terri Santisi, Interpublic Media's chief financial officer to sports and marketing firm IMG.

Client losses for the group include the $3.2bn (£1.7bn) US General Motors account to Starcom MediaVest in May last year, and the shifting of the European media account for the car marque, which includes brands Vauxhall and Saab from the network, and into the Aegis network last month.

Other losses for the network have include the £15m pan-European account for Tommy Hilfiger clothing and, back in 2005, the loss of the £555m western European account for FMCG giant Unilever.    

Although no official announcement has been made, according to sources at the group Mark Rosenthal, the current Interpublic chief executive for media, who took time off for treatment of colon cancer earlier this year, may take a less active role in the group.

The reshuffle is expected to give more responsibility to Nick Brien, the former Leo Burnett London chief executive, who moved from Publicis Groupe in August 2005 to be the new chief executive of its media buying operation Universal McCann.

Brien, who was chief executive of Publicis Groupe's direct marketing network Arc, is based in New York and reports to Rosenthal.

Brien was previously president of corporate business development at Starcom MediaVest Group in Chicago.

He took over from Murray Dudgeon, who was interim chief executive after Robin Kent was relieved of his post in March last year. Dudgeon was the chief operating officer until he was temporarily elevated and Interpublic hunted around for a replacement for Kent.

According to sources at the group, a statement on the retooling of Interpublic media offering is expected soon. 

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