Philippe Krakowsky named Interpublic Group CEO

FCB, Weber Shandwick, Mediabrands, Huge and McCann are all getting a new boss in the new year.

Long-time Interpublic CEO Michael Roth is stepping away from the top executive job with the world’s fourth largest advertising holding company, to be replaced by Philippe Krakowsky on Jan. 1, 2021. Roth will remain executive chairman of the board.

The change had been expected since late last summer, when Krakowsky was promoted to chief operating officer.

Roth had been CEO since 2005, coming to advertising from financial services. He was credited with leading Interpublic out of an accounting scandal that started in 2002, and in later years with charting a course that led to strong financial performance relative to its competition.

Krakowsky, 58, has had a long career in advertising, and has been with Interpublic since 2002. Highlights from his 18 year career at IPG include:

  • Before being named COO, he was CEO of Mediabrands, credited with helping the 10,500-person unit become more digitally focused and data driven;
  • He has overseen communications, business development, strategy and talent functions, and remains the chief strategy officer for IPG;
  • He’s described as “the key architect” of IPG’s 2018, $2.3 billion acquisition of data company Acxiom;
  • Aside from being CEO of Mediabrands, Krakowsky led IPG’s independent agencies including Acxiom, Carmichael Lynch, Deutsch, Hill Holliday, Huge, and R/GA;
  • IPG says he has been “responsible for designing many of the integrated, cross-agency client teams that have become a hallmark of Interpublic’s success and oversees talent management, training and development, benefits and IPG’s industry-leading D&I initiatives.”

“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,” said Roth in a Wednesday morning statement announcing the succession. “Our partnership over the years has been a key factor in our long-term success with both clients and our people.”

“Having led one of the great turnarounds in American business, and establishing a strong foundation for its future, Michael has transformed IPG into an industry leader,” said  David Thomas, presiding director of the IPG board of directors. “[A]nd the board is confident that Philippe is the right CEO for IPG’s next phase of continued value creation for all of our stakeholders.”

Interpublic also announced its third-quarter results Wednesday, citing the disruption caused by COVID as the reason for a 5.2% decrease in revenue.

David Brown