IPG Mediabrands global CEO Henry Tajer steps down

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Chairman Philippe Krakowsky assumes control of holding company's media agency network.

Two years after moving his family from Australia to New York to become global CEO at IPG Mediabrands, Henry Tajer is stepping down and returning to Sydney.

Trajer won’t be replaced as CEO at the holding company’s media agency network. Instead, Philippe Krakowsky, chairman of IPG Mediabrands, will take over Tajer's direct reports, according to an internal memo obtained by Campaign US that was sent to employees Tuesday evening. Tajer's departure is no surprise, the memo said, and Krakowsky’s appointment as chairman in February of 2016 was made with that possibility in mind.

"Our decision last February foresaw this possibility, which means this transition will be a seamless one, with Henry’s reports moving over to me," Krakowsky said in the memo. "Given that I’ll continue to serve in my corporate IPG roles, I’m fortunate to know many of you well and to have become even more fully immersed in your businesses over the past 15 months."

The new structure at IPG Mediabrands will mimic that of IPG’s Constituency Management Group, the umbrella organization for the company's public relations, sports and experiential marketing businesses. CMG is run by Frank Mergenthaler, who is also executive vice president and chief financial officer at IPG, in the same way that Krakowsky is EVP, chief strategy and talent officer at the holding company. The CMG structure has worked well, so IPG is confident in applying it now to IPG Mediabrands as well, said a senior IPG executive.

Before taking the global CEO position in 2015, Tajer spent seven years as global chief operating officer and executive chairman for IPG Mediabrands Australia. Prior to that, he was president, Asia-Pacific & CEO, Australia at Universal McCann.

The full text of Krakowsky’s memo follows.

As you all know, the agencies within Mediabrands have been key drivers of Interpublic’s success in recent years. That’s because media is where so much of the future of our industry is being defined, particularly in digital channels, programmatic and ad tech, as well as data and analytics.

That’s why, last year, Michael Roth announced that he was more closely aligning our media offerings and IPG by asking me to serve as your Chairman, in addition to my responsibilities leading strategy and talent for the holding company. As you heard from us at that time, this move was a confirmation of how central media services have become to the evolution of marketing overall – as well as a statement of our intent to promote greater collaboration between all of our media agencies and the rest of the IPG portfolio. We’ve made real progress in these areas, but there is still a lot to be done to fully realize that opportunity.

This context is important as it relates to a development that we are announcing today, concerning Henry Tajer. Henry has been a part of our company for over a decade, leading our hugely successful Australian operations, the Asia Pacific region and, most recently, Mediabrands. Moving a young family halfway across the world is a courageous thing to do and we appreciate Henry’s willingness to take that step when he assumed his global role, just as we appreciate the commitment and drive that are the hallmarks of Henry’s leadership. But we also understand his desire to return home, which will see him transitioning out of his job, in preparation for a move back to Sydney.

Our decision last February foresaw this possibility, which means this transition will be a seamless one, with Henry’s reports moving over to me. Given that I’ll continue to serve in my corporate IPG roles, I’m fortunate to know many of you well and to have become even more fully immersed in your businesses over the past 15 months. More importantly, we are all fortunate to have such outstanding teams and talent across the organization, serving our clients by bringing them innovative and business-building ideas.

As a holding company, IPG has long been clear that our primary role is to empower our people and our agency brands. With market leaders like UM, Initiative and Magna, as well as a group of terrific SBUs, we are in a strong position to keep winning in the marketplace.

We’re counting on you to keep doing that, just as you can count on our continued support,

Philippe