Interpublic is to disband its IPG Media division as part of plans to bring its struggling Initiative media network closer to the newly formed Draft FCB creative network.
Initiative will remain as a separate network, but will work more closely with the Draft FCB Group, mirroring the sort of interdependent relationship IPG's other media network, Universal McCann, has with its sister creative agency, McCann Erickson.
Contrary to reports, the chief executive of Draft FCB, Howard Draft, will not be running a combined Initiative/Draft operation. But Initiative is likely to now report in to Howard Draft.
Draft himself will now sit on a newly created IPG media council, alongside John Dooner, the McCann Erickson chief executive, Steve Gatfield, the Lowe Worldwide chief executive, Universal's chief, Nick Brien, and the Initiative chief, Alec Gerster.
Mark Rosenthal, the chief executive of IPG Media, who had time off this year to focus on his battle with cancer, will leave the group. IPG sources said he had been "fully engaged" in talks over the future of IPG's media operations.
Sources said that IPG, led by its chief executive, Michael Roth, decided to scrap IPG Media because of a belief that clients buy into individual networks, not media holding companies. This decision comes after a series of account losses at both networks, culminating in the loss of the £400 million pan-European General Motors account to Aegis Media earlier this month. Initiative held the UK business and Universal had the account in the rest of Europe.
IPG is also planning the launch of a Futures Group, which will feed data on search and other digital media developments into Initiative and Universal. Bant Breen, IPG's director of strategic development, will head it up.
A spokesman for IPG declined to comment.
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