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MASTERCARD CEO EXITS AMID AGENCY REVIEW

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Ad agencies hoping to pitch MasterCard International's $80 million account were jarred by the resignation last week of CEO H. Eugene Lockhart to join Bank-America Corp.

MasterCard named David Selander, president of its global operations, to succeed Mr. Lockhart as president-CEO; a company spokeswoman said the review will "move forward" with no changes.

Agencies close to MasterCard, however, say Mr. Lockhart's departure underscores tensions between MasterCard's international and U.S. marketing forces, a growing problem for global financial services marketers.

The MasterCard spokeswoman said the review will continue under the direction of Nicholas Utton, senior VP-U.S. marketing, and Debra Coughlin, senior VP-global advertising and marketing.

GSD&M INVITED TO PITCH

GSD&M, Austin, Texas, MasterCard's media buying agency, confirmed that it's been invited to compete, and executives close to the review say Bates USA, New York, has also been invited to pitch; Bates declined to comment.

Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG is expected to be invited, but executives at the agency said they haven't been contacted. Messner Vetere handles promotion assignments for MasterCard and is currently working on a TV project.

Ammirati Puris Lintas resigned earlier this month, apparently following internal disputes about advertising direction.

MasterCard executives refused to confirm the contenders, but the company is said to be hiring a consultant to manage the review.

As of March 12, MasterCard had met with a few, including Morgan Anderson & Co., a New York consultancy that has worked for the company in the past. Arthur Anderson, one of the principals, declined to comment.

At BankAmerica, Mr. Lockhart becomes president of its global retail bank. Even before his resignation, MasterCard had seen the arrival and departure of several top executives.

Mr. Utton was appointed to his post last May and Ms. Coughlin arrived in January from J. Walter Thompson Co., where she was a senior partner and management director. Both report to Joseph Tripodi who, as exec VP-global marketing, oversees regional marketing units including the U.S.

`FUTURE OF MONEY' TAG

Several agency executives said Ammirati began working on a new campaign themed "The future of money" last fall, with MasterCard envisioning that as a global strategy.

As Ammirati developed the campaign, the global marketers at MasterCard are said to have generally backed the efforts. Mr. Utton's group, however, resisted the direction in which Ammirati was moving. Executives said that, among other things, the U.S. managers felt threatened by the level of involvement of global executives as the campaign became broader.

Still, agency executives said the review instructions include keeping the "Future" tagline. The MasterCard spokeswoman said agencies have to stick to that theme but they don't have to use it as a tag.

Contributing: Laura Petrecca.

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