Interpublic Group CEO Michael I. Roth took an unusual path to the top of the ad industry. He was a tax attorney and then an insurance executive and was running Mutual of New York before he came to IPG in 2005.
While he finds there’s some similarity between being a tax attorney and an ad holding company CEO — like the focus on servicing clients — the ad industry is certainly unique.
“What I find about this industry is that it has the best highs I’ve ever experienced in my business career, and it also has the worst lows,” Roth says in an interview with Beet.TV recorded in January at CES in Las Vegas.
Even though competition for talent is growing increasingly intense these days, Roth feels a career in the ad industry will continue to be enticing — both because of the excitement of working with talented, creative people and the financial reward when you reach a certain level of seniority.
His advice to young people is to stay focused on their work and not obsess about their next potential job or how their colleagues are performing.
“If you’re with a company that you’re comfortable with from an ethical point of view and a people point of view, success will be recognized,” Roth says. “Just keep your head down and do what you’re supposed to do and do it well.”
This is segment is part of Beet.TV’s “Media Revolutionaries,” a 50-part series of interviews with key innovators and leaders in the media, technology and advertising industries, sponsored by Xaxis and Microsoft. Xaxis is a unit of WPP.
Roth was interviewed for Beet.TV by David J. Moore, Chairman of Xaxis and President of WPP Digital. We spoke with Roth in Las Vegas during the NAB Show.