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Initiative announces senior reshuffle as Bernard exits

LONDON - Initiative, the Interpublic Group media buying network, has unveiled a top level restructure after confirming that its EMEA president Philippe Bernard is to quit and leave the industry.

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Alec Gerster, Initiative's worldwide chief executive officer, said that Bernard will leave early next year, after it was speculated earlier this month in Campaign that he was set to go.

Bernard will be replaced jointly by Jerry Hill, UK and Ireland chief executive officer, and Dirk Wiedenmann, Germany, Austria and Switzerland chief executive officer. The two take on the joint title of co-chief operating officer for Initiative EMEA.

The new roles include continuing with their existing responsibility, as well as sharing regional management decisions and a bigger role promoting the firm globally.

Gerster said: "Dirk and Jerry have demonstrated true commitment to Initiative, its people and its future. The combination will provide a dynamic partnership to lead Initiative's growth plans within Europe."

It is understood that Bernard is to become managing director of European operations at opticians giant Grand Vision Group, which runs, among others, the Vision Express retail chain. 

The Initiative network operates in 58 countries and has clients including AOL, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever.

Hill joined Initiative four years ago and is also a member of the IPA Council and sits on the Radio Advertising Bureau advisory board.

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