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IPG Mediabrands global CEO Henry Tajer steps down to return to Sydney

IPG Mediabrands global CEO Henry Tajer is set to leave the business after just two years, staff have been told in a memo.

According to a report in Campaign US, Tajer will not be replaced as CEO at the holding company’s media agency network. He will return to Sydney for what the memo suggests are family reasons, while Philippe Krakowsky, chairman of IPG Mediabrands, will take over Trajer’s direct reports.

According to the memo, Tajer’s departure is no surprise internally and Krakowsky’s appointment as chairman in February of 2016 was made with that possibility in mind.

“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,” the memo read.

“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.”

Tajer moved to New York in 2015 after being promoted to the CEO position of the media agency network in March.

Prior to CEO, Tajer was chief operating officer of IPG Mediabrands’ global operations however he also remained executive chairman of the media agency network’s Australian operations and was based in Sydney during that time.

Following on from Tajer’s elevation to the top job, he quickly recruited a number of high profile Australians to US roles with former UM CEO Mat Baxter following him across the sea as global chief strategy and creative officer, John Sintras took the role of president of global business development, MNet boss Travis Johnson crossed the Pacific as global head of mobile and Cadreon’s Marc Lomas who became SVP Programmatic East (but has since departed for a global head of client services role at Amazon).

Some of the other hires Tajer quickly made included executive director of Starcom Mediavest, who was poached to be chief strategy officer of UM’s USA operations and Former Faulkners Godbold co-founder Charles Godbold was hired to lead global media auditing for IPG Mediabrands.

And last year, Tajer appointed Omnicom Media Group’s Australian CEO Leigh Terry to the new role of IPG Mediabrands APAC boss.

IPG Mediabrands told Mumbrella that no statement was available.

Last year Tajer spoke on a panel curated by Mumbrella at the Advertising Week conference in New York and discussed the cultural differences of running agencies in the US compared to Australia.

He said then: “Blunt is sharp here. In my first couple of months, people were shocked about how open and direct I was about what we should and shouldn’t do, and for some people that was really confronting.”

The memo:

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

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