Michael Roth, the longtime chief executive and chairman of the Interpublic Group of Companies, one of the world’s largest advertising companies, said on Wednesday that he would step down from his job at the end of the year.
He will be replaced, as has long been expected, by the current chief operating officer, Philippe Krakowsky, an 18-year IPG veteran and the architect of its $2.3 billion acquisition of the data company Acxiom in 2018. The change goes into effect Jan. 1. Mr. Roth, 74, who has been chairman of IPG since 2004 and chief executive since 2005, will become executive chairman. IPG’s internal guidelines encourage board members not to stand for re-election after age 74.
Before Mr. Krakowsky, 58, takes over, Mr. Roth must lead the company through the fourth quarter, always the most important of the year for advertising companies — the “crucial holiday shopping season,” he said on a conference call with analysts on Wednesday.
Coronavirus cases are surging around the world, unemployment remains high and the status of government stimulus programs is unclear, especially in the United States. “All this makes client decision-making for the fourth quarter difficult to forecast,” Mr. Roth said.
In the third quarter, which ended on Sept. 30, IPG’s net revenue sank 5.2 percent, to $1.95 billion, as clients in the automotive, transportation and industrial sectors suffered. The company slashed its head count by 7 percent from a year earlier, to 50,500 people. It also cut back its substantial travel and entertainment costs and said it plans to trim its real estate budget by exiting more leases. “The workplace environment is going to be different,” Mr. Roth said on the call.