In his first move as Chief Executive Officer of Initiative Worldwide, Richard Beaven has elevated Tim Spengler to President, Initiative USA, and Alan Cohen to President, Initiative West and Worldwide Innovation.
“Tim and Alan have been critical talents as Initiative has transformed into a media, marketing and digital company over the past 18 months,” says Beaven. “They are innovative thinkers driven by an innate curiosity and a drive to make things happen. They have repeatedly proven themselves as the right leaders at the right time in our industry.”
As President of Initiative USA, Spengler, formerly Chief Activation Officer, will be responsible for all aspects of the company’s business, development and operations in the United States. He will also join the Initiative Worldwide leadership team, reporting to Beaven, the Worldwide CEO. Magna, the media intelligence and negotiating arm of Interpublic Group, will report to Spengler and the President of sister IPG agency Universal McCann, Mary Gerzema.
As President, Initiative West and Worldwide Innovation, Cohen, formerly EVP and Managing Director of Initiative West, will be responsible for managing Initiative’s Innovation and Entertainment practice—the largest of its kind—throughout the U.S., and continue to lead the company’s West Coast-based clients and business. He will work closely with Initiative Worldwide CEO Beaven, lending his expertise and experience in Innovation and Entertainment marketing to other regions and clients of Initiative. Cohen will also join the Worldwide leadership team, reporting to the USA President on the U.S. business and Worldwide CEO on global activities.
In partnership with Beaven, Spengler and Cohen have been a powerhouse tandem strategically, creatively and in new business pitches for Initiative. Following Cohen’s arrival at the agency and Spengler’s elevation to Chief Activation Officer, Initiative pursued and won numerous significant new accounts, including Hyundai and KIA, Cadbury Schweppes, CBS, Showtime, Lionsgate, Citi Home Equity and Quiznos; as well as expanded its responsibilities with clients such as Bayer, Big Lots, Coors and KAO Brands.
In addition to designing many of Initiative’s successful new business pitches, the pair was also crucial to the creation and implementation of Initiative’s “Pod Puncher,” short five-second spots that air at end of commercial breaks, circumventing DVR users’ ability to avoid ads.
Spengler, 43, joined Initiative in 1993 and boasts a prestigious career arc that has evolved from broadcast buying specialist to a far broader management and leadership role at the agency as Chief Activation Officer, overseeing Initiative North America channel activation efforts and the unification of all buying departments, including national broadcast, local broadcast, print and online. Under his direction, Spengler led the agency’s restructuring into one consolidated activation unit, which has been a key catalyst in the agency’s transformation into an industry force.
Spengler is also one of the industry’s leading spokespeople, repeatedly ranked in Advertising Age’s annual “Media Talk” survey, which tracks the most-quoted executives in the industry. His numerous industry awards include both AdAge‘s Media Maven and Adweek‘s Media All-Star awards.
“Over the last two years, Tim has been has been the face of activation at Initiative, successfully building digital capability, and broadening his involvement at every level of the agency to lead planning, buying and digital reviews,” Beaven says. “He’s worked closely with me to build our capabilities across the board, and he’s the right person to keep the momentum moving in the United States.”
Cohen, 51, is widely regarded among the most respected executives in media and entertainment marketing, and spent nearly 25 years serving in senior management positions at 20th Century Fox, ABC and NBC before joining Initiative in January 2005. He subsequently built the Innovations unit that functions as Initiative’s strategic idea consultancy and activation specialists, helping the agency’s clients navigate the future of media through the use of digital, new technology and creative marketing programs.
In addition to spearheading Initiative’s conversion into a media, marketing and digital agency, Cohen has built his original team of four people into the largest entertainment practice of any agency in the United States, winning top creative media awards and being named both Media Maven and Media All-Star in 2007 by AdAge and Adweek, respectively.
“Alan has built a unique and captivating media and marketing force from scratch, and in so doing has helped position Initiative for future success. He’s nowhere near short of ideas or inspiration,” Beaven says. “We look forward to Alan and his team expanding their highly successful brand of communication to the entire world.”
Spengler and Cohen’s new positions will be effective March 1.
Initiative is a media, marketing and digital agency that transforms media connections into marketing results. Part of the Interpublic Group, Initiative offers effective media communications solutions for leading marketers, including AOL, Bayer, Big Lots, CBS, Cadbury Schweppes, Computer Associates, Coors, Gateway, Hardee’s, Hitachi, The Home Depot, Hyundai/KIA, Kao Brands, Lionsgate Films, LucasArts, Nikon, Quiznos, Showtime and SC Johnson.
Vice President, Director of Corporate Communications