Philip H. Geier is a dedicated communications industry leader and activist who defined the modern advertising holding company, and is widely recognized for having championed and personally embodied the client-centric business model. His distinguished career started when he joined McCann-Erickson in Cleveland in 1958. He rose through the ranks quickly, moving to the New York office and then on to London where in short order, he was named regional director of McCann-Europe and then vice chairman-international. His success was so dramatic that he was named vice chairman of parent company Interpublic in 1975, then president and COO two years later, until at the young age of 45 he was named chairman and CEO. He retired from this position at the end of December 2000 and now serves as chairman emeritus.
Over the 20 years under Geier's leadership, Interpublic grew from revenues of $500 million and 8,000 employees to a truly global enterprise with 650 offices in 127 countries, with revenues of $5.6 billion and 50,000 employees. He shepherded the continued growth of McCann but also oversaw the acquisitions of Campbell-Ewald, SSC&B and Lintas, the Lowe Group, Draft, Shandwick and many others that comprise the Interpublic Group today. His business model became the blueprint for other global networks. His unswerving focus on his clients' concerns changed the model of the effective account person. During his 20-year tenure as CEO, Interpublic stock experienced a compound growth rate of over 22 percent.
But Geier's career was not only about insightful business decisions. His dedication to activism and strong support of the advertising industry were instrumental in protecting the industry's interests. He was the first chairman of PRO-AD PAC, the industry's political action arm. He was a prime mover in forming the Ad Tax Coalition, personally walking the halls of the Capitol buildingand pleading the industry's case to legislators. He is a staunch advocate of the First Amendment and was also a founding member of the European Advertising Tripartite, the combined effort of European clients, agencies and the media to ensure fair and balanced treatment for our industry by the EU in Brussels and Strasbourg.
In addition, Geier served as chairman of the Ad Council, has been an active member of the Business Council, has created economic stimulus proposals for three administrations and has served on a number of government task forces.
Geier continues to be deeply engaged in a number of charitable causes, serving on the board for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the board of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Columbia University Business School. He is also chair of Worldwide Marketing Committee for Save the Children.
In February 2001 Geier formed The Geier Group, to provide consulting/advisory services in marketing, communications and venture capital. Additionally, Geier sits on the board of directors of many companies including AEA Investors Inc., Alcon Inc., Fiduciary Trust International Inc., Foot Locker Inc. and Mettler-Toledo International Inc. He also is a senior advisor for Lazard Frères & Co. LLC and a member of The Business Council. An avid tennis player, he sits on the board of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Geier holds a B.A. in economics from Colgate University (1957) and a M.B.A. in marketing and finance from Columbia University (1958).
Updated March 2004