PHILIP GEIER (1935 - 2019)

  • "Dearest Hope and Jody, I was most saddened to learn of your..."
  • "Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your..."
    - TB
  • "So sorry to hear of your dad's passing. What I will always..."
    - Mary Lucas
Obituary

GEIER--Philip H., Jr., former Chairman and CEO of The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (NYSE: IPG) and a prominent member of the advertising community, died peacefully on Wednesday, June 19, 2019. He was 84 years old. Mr. Geier started his career in advertising with McCann-Ericson in 1958 rising through the ranks to eventually be named Vice Chairman of the parent company, Interpublic, in 1975, and President two years later. He was ultimately named Chairman and CEO of Interpublic in 1980 at the age of 45, a position he held until he retired at the end of 2000. Born in Pontiac, Michigan, he grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, the eldest of six sons to Philip H. Geier, an insurance broker and Jane Gillen Geier, a homemaker. He attended University School in Cleveland and then Colgate University where he graduated in 1957 with B.A. in Economics. While at Colgate, he joined the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE), where he began to develop his entrepreneurial spirit and earned his nickname "Deals Geier". He received his MBA from Columbia Business School in 1958, where he would later serve on their Board of Overseers for more than two decades and have a Professorship of Marketing named after him. After graduation, he returned to Cleveland where he briefly served in the National Guard for six-months. He then entered McCann-Erickson's training program and shortly after was transferred to New York. In 1960, he met Faith Power in New York and they married a year later. They would remain side-by-side for 48 years, until her death in 2009. By 1968, he was offered an international assignment with McCann, which took him and his family to London. He would spend most of the 1970's in London where he became regional director for McCann-Europe. He returned to New York in 1975 to help run the parent company. During his 20-year tenure at Interpublic, Mr. Geier grew the company from $500MM in revenue and 8,000 employees to a global enterprise with $5.6B in revenue and 50,000 employees in 650 offices across 127 countries. Under his leadership, IPG stock experienced a compound growth rate of 22%. He shepherded over 200 acquisitions to help build four main worldwide agency networks, creating the largest advertising holding company in the world. His business model became a blueprint of other global holding companies. In addition to Interpublic's Board, Mr. Geier also sat on several corporate boards during his career including Alcon Laboratories, Inc. (now Alcon), AEA Investors, Inc., Fiduciary Trust Company International, Foot Locker, Inc. (now Foot Locker Retail, Inc.), Mettler-Toledo, Inc. and SwissAir (now Swiss International Air Lines AG). After retirement, he served as a Senior Advisor at Lazard Freres, Inc. where he continued to work with many former clients. Mr. Geier's client-centric approach garnered decades-long client relationships and created memorable campaigns for Coca-Cola, Nestle, Unilever S.A., General Motors and L'Oreal. He counted many of those clients as his good friends to the end. In 2009, he documented all his advertising experiences in a book entitled, Survive to Thrive: Sustaining Yourself, Your Brand and Your Business from Recession to Recovery. Mr. Geier was involved with various advertising organizations during his career including The Advertising Council, Inc., where he served as Chairman in the 1990's, the American Association for Advertising Agencies (AAAA), and the American Advertising Federation (AAF). He was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2003. He received countless awards and honors in not only his industry, but also in the arts and philanthropy as well. In addition to advertising, Mr. Geier's interests varied from arts to politics. Over the years, he invested and/or co- produced several Broadway shows, quite a few were nominated and earned Tony's. Phil Geier became an avid contemporary art collector through his wife Faith's influence and served on the Board of Trustees of The Whitney Museum of American Art for 27 years. Later in life, he would also join the board of The Norton Museum in Palm Beach. A lifelong Republican, he briefly served on President George W. Bush's National Economic Council and donated to Republican candidates and causes on local, state and Federal levels. Over the years, he used his advertising and communications background to not only successfully package his party's message in various campaigns, but also to raise awareness for advertising tax proposals, freedom of speech issues, as well as environmental and economic policies. Raised Catholic, Phil Geier's religious faith remained important to him and he was awarded a knighthood in The Sovereign Order of Malta. More importantly, his faith established his deep belief in giving back. He served on the Board of Managers and Board of Overseers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for more than two decades, at one point serving as the Chair for their Joint Organization Policy Committee. Additionally, he was one of the original founders of Autism Speaks in New York and served as a Trustee for Save the Children Federation, Inc. An avid lifelong tennis player, he served on the Board of The International Tennis Hall of Fame. His varied organizations also included The Business Council, The Council for Retired Chief Executives, The Broadway League, and the Commanderie de Bordeaux. After retiring at the end of 2000, he started a consulting company, Geier Group LLC, and opened a family office partnering with his daughter, Hope Geier Smith. In 2013, he married Julie Ann Weindling. He is survived by his two daughters, Hope Geier Smith and Johanna Geier Howard; his sons-in-law, Theodore B. Smith III and Peter Ashby Howard II; his four grandchildren, Briell Geier Smith, Theodore B. Smith IV, Peter Ashby Howard III and Jane Gillen Howard; his brother, Richard R. Geier of Cleveland; several nephews and a niece; and his second wife, Julie Ann Geier. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Phil's memory be made to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Donations can be made payable to "Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center" and sent to: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Office of Development, Attn: Elliott Pollock, 885 Second Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10017. Please indicate on the check that the gift is "In memory of Philip H. Geier, Jr."

Published in The New York Times on June 23, 2019
bullet General Motors bullet Smith
Give others a chance to express condolences. Not right now.