Initiative signals more creative direction with new leadership appointment

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 10 January 2017
Michael Stanford

Initiative Australia CEO Melissa Fein has appointed Michael Stanford as the agency’s first chief creative solutions officer, signalling a more creatively-led direction for the media agency, based on the role emotion plays on consumer decisions. 

It's a newly created position which will see Stanford lead the development and direction of creative content across various media channels.

Former UM Australia CEO Mat Baxter, now based in the US, was appointed global CEO of Initiative six months ago, and has been articulating his vision for the agency internally. He previously, when at the helm of UM, overhauled the media agency to be more creatively driven dubbing it the 'creative connections' agency and claiming it wasn't a media agency at all.

The appointment of both Fein and Stanford in key positions for Initiative Australia play into the likely direction Baxter is setting for the global network.

Stanford says: “The intersection between creativity and media is a very valuable place to be in people’s brand relationships. My focus will be to bring our clients’ brands to that point of maximum relevance in how people engage in their consumer journey.”

Prior his appointment Stanford was MD of Ensemble, IPG Mediabrands’ brand experience agency, of which Fein was the CEO before taking on the Initiative role. The pair had also previously worked together at Network Ten's Generate creative unit.

Stanford has a 25-year career in advertising and media, having been the ECD of some of Australia’s largest and most high profile creative agencies such as Publicis Mojo, George Patterson Y&R and McCann Erickson.

Initiative is still searching for a chief partnerships officer for the national network to complete its new management team.

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