Spirits Maker in Middle of Hotly Contested Review

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CHICAGO ( -- In a surprise move, the senior global marketing executive for spirits maker Fortune Brands is leaving to take the chief marketing officer's post at Hershey Foods Corp.

Leaves after 14 months
Thomas K. Hernquist joins Hershey on April 28 and will lead marketing for the company's domestic confectionery business. Mr. Hernquist had been with Fortune only 14 months and was in the middle of a hotly contested advertising agency review for Fortune's $19 million Jim Beam portfolio, which includes the Jim Beam and Knob Creek bourbons, DeKuyper cordials and Vox vodka.

Mr. Hernquist was not in meetings held on Friday, Monday and Tuesday, according to executives in attendance.

"We are continuing to move ahead full-steam" on the review, said a Jim Beam spokeswoman, who added that the company is considering both internal and external candidates for the senior marketing position.

Five agencies will continue in the final round now pushed back to July, with a decision expected that same month; a decision had been expected in May. Continuing to the finals are WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, Chicago, the incumbent; Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide and Element 79 Partners, both Chicago; Interpublic Group of Cos.' Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis; and Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis.

Agencies will be briefed next week. AAR, New York, is the consultant handling the review.

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