Michael Roth (below) is retiring as executive chairman of Interpublic (IPG) after nearly 20 years in what was once a very hot seat as Interpublic, the original ad holding company, wrestled with all manner of problems.
He handed over the CEO reins to long-serving deputy Philippe Krakowsky a year ago. Since then IPG has outperformed its peers in terms of organic growth and markedly narrowed the gap on its big US rival Omnicom.
Roth, 76, says: “My time as chairman and CEO of IPG has been a tremendous privilege. I am most proud of the work we have done to help shine a light on equity and inclusion, as well as being a values and purpose-driven enterprise.
“Operationally, we have evolved to meet the needs of an industry that is not only creative, but also increasingly about digital and data.”
“Philippe (Krakowsky) has been key to the efforts to move the company forward on all these fronts, working with me and the board to build a contemporary organisation that delivers high-value services for marketers. Our clients, people and shareholders are in very good hands going forward.”
Roth’s last big bet was the $2.2bn acquisition of data firm Acxiom, which seems to have been incorporated pretty seamlessly. IPG has arguably thrived thanks to its simpler structure, mainly built around creative agencies McCann and FCB and media shops UM and Initiative, although it owns scores of other businesses. It also created a strong footprint in digital with R/GA.
Roth, by accounts a pleasant man, has earned his time on the golf course. IPG will now appoint a non-executive chair to work with Krakowsky.