Returns to Agency He Joined in 1985

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DETROIT ( -- Rich Stoddart, marketing communications manager of Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Division, was named president of Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago.

Mr. Stoddart, who prior to Ford was director and account manager at Publicis sibling Fallon Worldwide until April 2001, starts at Burnett in January 2005. Mr. Stoddart spent 10 years with Leo Burnett, starting out in 1985 as a media buyer and planner on the Hewlett-Packard account. He was with the agency until 1995.

"I loved it here" at Ford, Mr. Stoddart said. "I think the work has gotten better."

At Burnett, he will report to agency CEO Tom Bernardin. According to a statement, Mr. Stoddart will lead Burnett's flagship U.S. agency with Mr. Bernardin and Chairman and Chief Creative Officer Cheryl Berman as Mr. Bernardin moves into the role of Leo Burnett Worldwide chairman-CEO following Linda Wolf's retirement next year.

Under Mr. Stoddart, Ford's biggest-volume division increased its spending in nontraditional media, now at 20% of the brand's annual marketing budget. He successfully launched the F-150 pickup last year and oversaw current ad launches for the redone Mustang, Five Hundred sedan, Freestyle sport wagon and Escape hybrid-engine sport utility vehicle.

Ford Division spent $521 million in measured media through September 2004 and $752 million in 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, is the Ford Division's ad agency.

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