IPG Beefs-Up Media Credentials After GM Loss

13 May 2005

Within twenty-four hours of losing General Motors' media buying business [WAMN: 12-May-05], Interpublic Group announced Thursday it had recruited former MTV boss Mark Rosenthal to the new post of chairman and chief executive of its group-wide media operations.

Some might see it as shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. But this is clearly not so. The deal between IPG and Rosenthal would have been sewn-up before (or perhaps as) the vibes from GM began to look unpropitious.

Rosenthal (53), until 2004 president/coo of Viacom's MTV Networks, will head all IPG's media operations, among them Magna Global, Initiative and Universal McCann. The latter had previously reported direct to John J Dooner, boss of Interpublic's largest operation McCann Worldgroup.

Rosenthal is aware that the media world in general is in a state of flux, not simply because of proliferation and fragmentation, but equally because consumers are changing the way they use media.

"The consumer, thanks to the Internet, is totally empowered to demand, as it were, what they want, when they want it and even where they want it," Rosenthal philosophizes. "The consumer has the ability to really self-select, to screen out what he or she doesn't want to see."

IPG chairman/ceo Michael I Roth acknowledges that his ship has foundered too often of late on the rocks of media management: "If you look at any of the significant clients that we lost, it was generally on the media side," says he. "We don't like to lose."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff