Alison Weissbrot
Jan 26, 2021

Two senior PHD execs in The US are leaving for Initiative

Stacy DeRiso will become president of Initiative U.S., and Will Wiseman will head up strategy.

Stacy DeRiso and Will Wiseman
Stacy DeRiso and Will Wiseman

Two top executives from Omnicom Media Group’s PHD have left the company for new roles at IPG’s Initiative, Campaign US has learned. 

Stacy DeRiso, formerly U.S. chief client officer at PHD, will become Initiative’s president in the U.S. Will Wiseman, president of strategy and planning at PHD, will move to Initiative as head of strategy, based out of L.A. 

PHD confirmed that Anthony Koziarski, chief media officer, is also leaving the company. Koziarski is taking a family sabbatical before relocating to the UK in the summer. He will remain at the agency through the end of Q1.

DeRiso and Wiseman announced their departures internally last week. Both are moving to Initiative after the agency picked up T-Mobile’s $2 billion U.S. media account earlier this month. 

“I can confirm that Stacy DeRiso is joining Initiative as U.S. President," said Amy Armstrong, US CEO at Initiative, in an email. "Due to our expansive growth, the opportunity to bolster leadership with the caliber and experience level that Stacy brings was identified.  She will be key to leading the agency’s continued growth while maintaining Initiative’s high standards amongst its clients within the U.S. I look forward to our partnership during this exciting time at Initiative."

The changes to PHD’s executive team come just four months after the agency appointed Catherine Sullivan as its U.S. CEO. Sullivan was formerly chief investment officer at Omnicom Media Group in the U.S., and prior to that, an ad sales executive at ABC and NBC.

“Under the new leadership team put in place last year, PHD has been moving toward an offer centered on commerce, content, marketplaces and multicultural. Delivering on this offer requires rethinking and reprioritizing traditional roles and expertise — which in turn can lead to re-evaluating fit with the new direction,” Scott Hagedorn, CEO of Omnicom Media Group North America, said in a statement. “As we launch the next phase of our reorganization, we look forward to sharing details about new capabilities and talent in the weeks ahead.”

PHD has a fair amount of travel and automotive clients, including Delta, Carnival, Kayak, Volkswagen and Audi, categories that have struggled during the pandemic and cut their media spend. PHD parent Omnicom laid off 6,100 employees across its agencies in April. 

Still, PHD performed well from a new business perspective in 2020, picking up work from Casper and Lindt in the U.S., and TikTok and Diageo globally. The agency topped COMvergence’s new business rankings in Q1 of last year with total new business wins valued at $440 million. 

Initiative has been on a new business tear. In addition to T-Mobile, the agency snagged work from Salesforce and Citrix globally, as well as Gilead, Groupon and El Pollo Loco in the U.S., per R3. So it’s no surprise that the agency is staffing up with heavy hitters to service new accounts. 

This story has been updated with a statement from Initiative. 

Campaign US

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