The Week

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In the second time in less than a year, McDonald's Corp. has lost its top officer. Charlie Bell, president-CEO, stepped down last week, citing his ongoing battle with cancer as the reason. Mr. Bell assumed the position after the unexpected heart-attack death of Jim Cantalupo in April. Vice Chairman Jim Skinner, 60, was named CEO of the fast-food chain. In July, Mr. Skinner assumed management of McDonald's operations throughout Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Mike Roberts, who is the CEO of McDonald's USA, was named president-chief operating officer of the company's global business. Insiders indicated that the company was preparing for the transition for weeks. The executive transition is not expected to affect the company's stock value or overall performance. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq14q

Nintendo DS out in time for holidays

In move that beats rival Sony to the market by months and with the major innovation of dual screens that respond to touch, Nintendo has begun the launch of its niche-defining Nintendo DS handheld game system. The new Nintendo DS looks like a mini-laptop and has wireless connectivity and chat capability that makes it a mobile-communications unit as well as a portable game system. Sony has created its own rival handset gaming device, called the PSP, and is expected to launch it early next year. Part of Nintendo's strategy with its DS pre-holiday promotional blitz is to gain ground against that coming Sony challenge. Nintendo also rolled out an innovative marketing platform for the DS, stressing brand-integrated customized advertising more than ever before. This included tongue-in-cheek "How to Score" advertorials in Dennis Publishing's men's magazines Maxim, Stuff and Blender; a DS day with the Comcast-owned cable channel G4techTV; and an MTV-only ad campaign in which the Wildboyz (of "Jackass" fame) play DS games on African safari with one in a tree and the other riding an elephant. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq14b

WPP-Grey deal hits an obstacle

European antitrust regulators have requested more information from WPP Group on its purchase of Grey Global Group, presenting an unexpected obstacle to the planned January closing of the deal. The European Commission determined WPP's merger application was incomplete, meaning WPP must provide more information to the European Union's regulatory authority. WPP agreed in September to buy Grey in a deal initially worth $1.52 billion. Grey has said it expected to wrap the sale in January, but that could be delayed. The EU conceivably could reject the deal if it saw insurmountable antitrust issues, though WPP and analysts haven't anticipated problems. The WPP-Grey merger required antitrust approval in the U.S. from the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission. U.S. approval came Nov. 5 when the waiting period passed for challenges by U.S. regulators. The process for European approval will restart after WPP provides the requested information. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq14s

CNN names Klein to head U.S. division

CNN last week named Jonathan Klein as president of its U.S. operation. The appointment was made by Jim Walton, president of CNN News Group, who is expected to reveal a programming shake-up at the Time Warner cable network by the new year. Mr. Klein was an exec VP at CBS News who oversaw shows including "60 Minutes." FeedRoom, which Mr. Klein launched in 2000, is an online streaming video hub that is to online news publishers what the Associated Press is to print publishers. An executive at CNN said the staff was expecting changes to CNN's prime-time lineup. Mr. Klein takes on responsibilities previously held by Princell Hair, who was exec VP-general manager of CNN's U.S. division. Mr. Hair is moving to a new role as senior VP-program and talent development. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq14i

FYI...

Hershey Foods Corp. last week said it would acquire macadamia-nut processor Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corp. for $112 million by the end of this year. Mauna Loa, which has annual sales of roughly $80 million, will provide Hershey the chance to develop new macadamia-nut-based products and further promote the Mauna Loa brands ...Tom Watson, 70, who was part of the team that created Omnicom Group nearly 20 years ago , is retiring from his role as vice chairman of the holding company at year's end. His responsibilities will be absorbed by Omnicom executives.AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq14t

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