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Human resources chief exiting at WPP Group

[london] WPP Group's New York-based chief human resources officer, Brian Brooks, has given 12 months' notice that he intends to leave the company, WPP disclosed in a London Stock Exchange filing last week. Mr. Brooks, 46, could not be reached and WPP had no further comment, but a U.K. media report said Mr. Brooks would join Interpublic Group of Cos., succeeding Interpublic Senior VP-Human Resources C. Kent Kroeber, 62. Mr. Brooks joined WPP in 1992 and has been responsible for recruiting senior executives throughout the group. Interpublic officials could not be reached by deadline.

BellSouth sets pitches in $120 million review

[atlanta] BellSouth Corp. will hear creative pitches the first week of December for its $120 million account. Omnicom Group's Merkley Newman Harty, New York, the incumbent on part of BellSouth's business, is to present Dec. 5 with Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, New York, following on Dec. 6. Havas Advertising's Arnold Worldwide, Boston, and Richards Group, Dallas, are also in the review. BellSouth did not return calls by press time. Wanamaker Associates, Atlanta, handles the review.

NATPE cancels hotels for conventions

[santa monica, calif.] The National Association of Television Programming Executives canceled its hotel reservations in New Orleans for its planned 2003 and 2004 conventions, Electronic Media reports today. In a letter sent to hotels dated Nov. 14 by New Orleans attorney Walter Wilkerson, who said he had been retained by NATPE, the group blamed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and war for "curtailment of travel." However, the group is going ahead with its 2002 convention Jan. 21-24 in Las Vegas. NATPE President-CEO Bruce Johansen said, in a statement, that "NATPE is involved in fruitful discussions leading to a strategic plan regarding the configuration of the conference in 2003. ... This plan may or may not involve New Orleans."

IPO price values Dentsu at $4.7 billion

[tokyo] Dentsu set its Nov. 30 initial public offering share price at $3,411. With 1.39 million shares outstanding, the price values Dentsu, including its 20% stake in Bcom3 Group ( Leo Burnett Worldwide, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Starcom MediaVest Group), at about 580 billion yen, or $4.7 billion. Dentsu is selling 135,000 shares in the IPO.

RJR bids for additive-free cigarette maker

[winston-salem, n.c.] R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings, topping an earlier bid by Canada's Rothmans, offered $320 million last week for privately held Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., marketer of niche brand Native American Spirit additive-free cigarettes. Rothmans, which bid $275 million for Santa Fe in September, has five days to counter RJR's bid.

Arm & Hammer relaunches deodorant

[princeton, n.j.] Church & Dwight Co. is restaging Arm & Hammer antiperspirant/deodorant brand as Arm & Hammer Ultra Max. The improved product ships to retailers Feb. 2. Advertising breaks in May. Agency could not be determined; Church & Dwight has handled the brand in-house in recent years. Spending was not disclosed.

Bozell Omaha sold to management

[omaha, neb.] A management group at Bozell Omaha is buying the $49 million agency from Interpublic Group of Cos. and will operate it under the Bozell & Jacobs name. Terms were not disclosed.


Simon Worldwide stock fell 40% last week to 18 cents after the promotions company said there was "substantial doubt" about its ability to continue as a going concern. Simon, parent of Simon Marketing, the firm whose employees were accused of involvement in an alleged McDonald's Corp. sweepstakes scam, said it would reduce costs and explore options-including selling, reorganizing, liquidating assets or filing for bankruptcy. On Nov. 13, Simon filed a $4 million lawsuit against Philip Morris Cos. alleging breach of contract. See QwikFIND AAM81H. ... Interpublic's Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., will open offices next year in Frankfurt, as expected, and later in Hong Kong. Both would service client ACDelco. The agency said it will partner with Interpublic network Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide in a strategic alliance. ...Sony Corp. of America hears presentations this week from the three agencies competing for the estimated $600 million U.S. portion of its global media review. They are Bcom3's Starcom MediaVest, Chicago; and Interpublic's Universal McCann and Omnicom's OMD, both New York. Sony declined to comment.

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