By Alison Weissbrot
IPG said Wednesday that CEO Michael Roth will step down at the end of the year. He will be succeeded by IPG EVP and COO Philippe Krakowsky effective Jan. 1.
IPG also reported earnings for Q3 that came in below expectations, with a revenue decrease of 5.2% year over year to $1.95 billion due to the ongoing pandemic.
Krakowsky, an 18-year IPG exec, has been the favoured candidate to succeed Roth since he was elevated to COO last year. Prior to that he was CEO of IPG’s media group Mediabrands and has overseen communications, talent, business development and strategy functions. He will remain chief strategy officer at IPG.
“Philippe is the right CEO for the next era at IPG,” Roth said in a statement. “He is a brilliant strategist and effective leader who has played a key role in developing our open architecture client service model, as well as modernizing our data, marketing services and media solutions. Our partnership over the years has been a key factor in our long-term success with both clients and our people.”
Roth has been executive chairman and CEO of IPG since 2004 when he was brought in from the financial world to turn around the struggling holding company after an accounting scandal. He restructured the holding company and created its open architecture model, where agencies across the group are incentivized to collaborate.
“Michael’s leadership of IPG has been and continues to be outstanding. He has substantially transformed the company and ushered in a new era of modern marketing solutions,” said David Thomas, Presiding Director of the IPG Board of Directors in a statement.:
IPG has been the strongest performer of the big six agency groups in recent years, including during the pandemic, and the Q3 organic revenue decline of 5.2% was better than Publicis Groupe at 5.6% and Havas at 10.4%, the other two groups to report so far for this quarter.
Roth, a former tax lawyer, was originally a non-executive director of IPG and the company appointed him as CEO helped to stabilise the company’s finances and debt during a torrid period.
In a 2017 interview with Campaign, Roth said:
“What keeps me going is I love what I do… I love the people and the organisation. Where else can you get to have a career that is global in nature, that has 50,000 employees under your responsibility, with the best talent in the world? And we’re performing well. Why wouldn’t anyone want to do that [job]?”
The news of Krakowsky’s appointment came a week after longtime McCann Worldgroup CEO Harris Diamond said he would step down effective Jan 1. He was once seen as a possible successor to Roth until Krakowsky emerged as the favourite.
This story is developing…
Gideon Spanier contributed.