Betawave’s Matt Freeman Jumps To IPG; Will Head Agency’s Mediabrands Ventures Unit

Digital ad vet Matt Freeman has been hired by Interpublic Group to oversee its interactive media unit, the WSJ reports. The move comes two months after Freeman gave up the CEO post at OTCBB-traded kids/mom-focused ad network Betawave to take on the role of vice chairman. He’ll now be CEO of IPG’s Mediabrands Ventures, which the ad holding company established to spur innovative ideas and collaboration among its various agencies. Specifically, as the head of Mediabrands Ventures, Freeman will work with IPG’s media shops, Universal McCann and Initiative and connect them to the digital operations. A Betawave rep tells paidContent that the company is still looking for a permanent CEO to replace Freeman.

Both Freeman and Mediabrands Ventures are more than just managing digital, an IPG rep tells paidContent. Beyond operating between the media agencies and the digital properties, Freeman will also manage the firm’s “specialized businesses,” which include Reprise Media (for search/social), Cadreon (audience demand platform), Ansible (mobile marketing), Orion Trading (media barter), Geomentum (hyper-local) and The Emerging Media Lab.

On top of that, Freeman is charged with increasing those businesses’ global scale. He’ll also be scouting for brands that IPG might want to acquire and invest in. On the digital side, Freeman will work closely with Mediabrands’ Chief Digital Officer Quentin George.

Freeman is best known as one of the founders of Omnicom’s seminal digital shop Tribal DDB. He left as CEO of Tribal DDB after 10 years to join Betawave (fka GoFish) in June ’08.

Betawave was not clear about why Freeman moved out of the CEO role in November. Aside from trying to trim its losses over the past year, the company has been keeping a fairly low profile, a contrast to the days when Freeman drew consistent industry attention when he was at Tribal DDB.