Initiative Creates New Worldwide Structure to Accelerate Growth

Mediabrands Network Appoints Worldwide Managing Director

Initiative, a media marketing and digital company, has unveiled a new worldwide structure, with new roles and enhanced functions, designed to position the network at the forefront marketing performance-led communications.

Worldwide reorganization
The creation of the new structure heralds the second stage of the reorganization of the network, led by Richard Beaven, Chief Executive Officer, Worldwide, at Initiative. Phase one was completed at the end of 2008, and saw the creation of a team of dedicated regional and functional leads. Other key developments during this phase included the launch of market-leading tools, such as consumer insight resource the Connections Panels, and the rollout of Initiative’s sophisticated planning approach, Exchanges.

These changes played a major part in the upturn of new business for the network. Key wins for Initiative over the past 12 months include: Cadbury, The Home Depot, Hyundai Kia, Marionnaud, MillerCoors, Rabobank, Telekom Malaysia and Vodafone.

Network of the future
Phase two of the reorganization is future-facing, and sees the network creating the architecture and investing in resources to deliver on its vision of leading the market in media excellence, marketing performance and digital capabilities.

New Worldwide Managing Director to play key role
Taking a lead role in turning Initiative’s vision into reality will be the Worldwide Managing Director—one of several new Worldwide positions created as part of the second stage of the strategic reorganization. Taking up this role is Mauricio Sabogal, who joins Initiative from Omnicom Media Group, where he was CEO, Latin America.

Sabogal is a highly-respected media practitioner who has considerable experience in developing a network proposition and strategy from his seven years at Omnicom. In 2002, he was appointed CEO of OMD Latin America and was responsible for taking the region from seventh to second place in the IBOPE rankings through a strategic focus on clients and driving new business.

In 2005, Sabogal was appointed President of the OMD Worldwide Creativity Council, and in 2007 he was promoted to CEO of Omnicom Media Group in the region, taking on additional responsibility for PhD.  In his distinguished career, Sabogal has also been President of the Andean Region at MindShare, and Director of Nielsen Media Research, Latin America.

Reporting to Richard Beaven, Sabogal will be responsible will take charge of several of the network’s key functions. Working with leaders across both the network and Mediabrands’ group of companies, Sabogal has been tasked with playing a lead role in shaping the business to ensure that Initiative is delivering on its promise of transforming media exchanges into marketing results.

In addition to his responsibilities at Initiative, Sabogal will also assume the role of Mediabrands President Latin America and will work closely with Nick Brien to further enhance business performance and offer executive level support across the region. Jean-Christophe Petit, who formerly oversaw Latin America, will become part of the EMEA leadership team, and oversee Southern Europe in collaboration with Graham Duff.

Client focus with creation of Worldwide President role
As part of its commitment to driving service and results for clients, Initiative had created the new role of President, Worldwide Clients. Janet Fitzpatrick, formerly Worldwide Director of Communication Planning at Initiative, takes up this key position and will be responsible for driving results and performance across Initiative’s wide and diverse portfolio of clients. As part of her role, she will to take charge of identifying growth opportunities and for ensuring that clients benefit from advances that Initiative, Mediabrands and Interpublic are making in communications.

Joining Fitzpatrick in the new Worldwide Client function is Erin Flaxman. She has been promoted from Director, Business Development, Initiative USA, to Worldwide Client Director. Sarah Ivey, Director of Communication Planning, Worldwide, at Initiative, will now take on Fitzpatrick’s strategic planning responsibilities.

Leveraging technology through new leadership appointment
Ensuring that the network is forging ahead with advances in technology, Initiative has created another important new role: Chief Technology Catalyst, Worldwide. Karin Baatsch-Deboulet steps up from Director of Worldwide Operations, to take on this responsibility. The creation of this new position reflects the importance technology plays in maximizing marketing performance through solutions that deliver speed and efficiency. Baatsch-Deboulet will be responsible for delivering client-led, custom built tools and platforms for the network, such as the soon-to-be-launched performance dashboards.

Developing the brand in North America
Tim Spengler, President USA, has been promoted to President North America, taking on additionally responsibilities for Canada. Spengler was appointed President USA in March 2008, and his enhanced role reflects the growth and successes that Initiative USA has seen under his leadership. Over the past 18 months, the agency has won Bayer (digital), Burlington Coat Factory, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, The Home Deport (digital), Hyundai Kia, Korean Airlines MillerCoors  and Zicam, and was twice named Media Agency of the Year. Spengler has been tasked with developing the Initiative brand across North America.

Commenting on taking up the new Managing Director, Worldwide role, Mauricio Sabogal, said: “I am delighted to be joining Initiative at this exciting stage in their development. I am looking forward to applying my network, client and product experience in order to further leverage Initiative’s talent and to enhance their proposition to clients.”

Richard Beaven, Chief Executive, Worldwide, said: “Having someone of Sabogal’s reputation and experience will be a real asset to Initiative as we further develop the network. Working directly with our functions and market leaders, he will play a key part in taking Initiative forward as a leading communications business.”

“These strategic changes are designed to accelerate the work we are doing for clients and to ensure that Initiative is well positioned as an agency of the future. We are moving forward as a highly-connected network of centers of local excellence and look forward to unveiling more developments that will provide our clients with sustainable advantage.”

About Initiative
Initiative is a media, marketing and digital company that transforms media exchanges into marketing results. Owned by the Interpublic Group, Initiative is part of media management group Mediabrands and a partner of Magna, IPG’s centralized media negotiation entity. Initiative employs more than 2500 talented professionals, working in 91 offices across 70 markets, worldwide. Initiative’s comprehensive range of marketing-led communications services include: research and insight, media planning and buying, digital communications solutions, content creation, and evaluation and accountability services. For more information please visit

Primary Contact:
Tim Collison
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