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    Breaking: Melissa Fein, Sam Geer, Chris Colter leave Initiative for Accenture Song

    Initiative’s three most senior leaders – CEO Melissa Fein, MD Sam Geer, and chief strategy officer Chris Colter – have left the Mediabrands agency, Mediaweek understands.

    The trio are set to build out a media planning and buying unit at the consultancy, home to creative agency The Monkeys.

    Industry sources told Mediaweek conversations began when Accenture Song was pitching for Telstra’s account, which was ultimately won by +61, the bespoke model made up of TBWA, Bear Meets Eagle On Fire, and OMD.

    Mediaweek has been told Initiative clients were informed of Fein, Geer, and Colter’s departure today.

    Both Initiative and its holding group Mediabrands have been contacted for comment, in addition to Fein, Geer, Colter, and Mediabrands CEO Mark Coad.

    Accenture Song has been contacted for comment.

    Fein has been Initiative CEO for six and a half years, beginning in 2017. Before that, she was CEO of Ensemble and worked at Network 10.

    Geer started at the agency in 2018 as chief strategy officer, and was promoted to managing director in 2020. He has been with the agency for almost six years. Before that, he was UM’s national strategy director.

    Colter joined in 2019 as national strategy director. He was promoted to chief strategy officer when Geer was elevated to the MD role, then chief strategy and product officer in 2022. 

    At Cannes last year, Geer told Mediaweek: “We’ve still got a lot of growth left. People talk about the awards and new business wins, but what comes with that is building a lot of depth in the agency. There’s depth at every single level in the agency, we can come here and the team is still absolutely smashing it on the ground. I think that allows you to continue to scale and not scale too quickly, or sacrifice other things and grow for the sake of it.”

    Fein added: “It hasn’t always been roses, we haven’t always been able to come to Cannes and feel like things are okay back at the ranch. This has been years of brick-by-brick making to get to this point.”

    Initiative’s global CEO, Dimitri Maex, told Mediaweek  that Initiative Australia is one of the agency’s strongest offices. “To be honest with you, they dominate – and definitely punch above their weight. I think the Initiative DNA may live most vibrantly in the Australian office.”

    Recently, Accenture Song acquired martech consultancy The Lumery, won NRMA’s CX account after losing the Telstra pitch, and partnered with Adobe to develop AI solutions.

    Initiative is widely-regarded as one of the best media agencies in the country, but recently lost Afterpay to indie Kaimera. Specsavers is up for pitch. In February, it won Crown Resorts, wrestling the account away from Carat after 30 years. 

    Crown Resorts and Initiative were key contributors to the recently-launched ALUMNI pop-up restaurant for Masterchef, which Colter told Mediaweek was an “ambitious idea”.

    More to come

    The post Breaking: Melissa Fein, Sam Geer, Chris Colter leave Initiative for Accenture Song appeared first on Mediaweek.

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