Tony Rogers Returns to Wal-Mart

Leaves Idea City After Less Than a Week

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- After spending less than a week at GSD&M's Idea City, former Wal-Mart Senior VP-Advertising Tony Rogers is returning to the retailer.

According to one person familiar with the matter, Mr. Rogers had started his position -- which was first unnamed and later established as director of client services -- Aug. 8 and was technically still "in-training" in the role when he resigned yesterday.

"Tony just decided to go back to the client side," an Idea City spokeswoman said of Mr. Rogers' sudden move. "We wish him the best and remain good friends with him."

His hire at the Omnicom Group shop came on the heels of news of another high-profile marketing executive, Procter & Gamble Co. Global Marketing Officer Jim Stengel, working with the agency on its "Purpose Institute," a division created by Idea City Chairman-CEO Roy Spence. The division, which aims to help brands find and articulate their purpose, is expected to be spun off as a stand-alone entity under the Omnicom umbrella within the next six months.

"Tony is a believer and a practitioner of branding on purpose, and he brought it to life with the largest company in the world," Duff Stewart, president of Austin-based Idea City, said at the time of his hiring. "We've always been impressed with how much heart, head and soul Tony brings to every effort, and we're incredibly fortunate that he has decided to join us at Idea City."

The about-face is particularly curious given Mr. Rogers' longtime ties to the shop. He hired the agency, then known only as GSD&M, when he was a marketing executive at PepsiCo's Frito-Lay in 2003. After landing at Wal-Mart -- where he followed Julie Roehm -- he continued to work with the agency until the controversial review which saw the account ultimately wind up at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Martin Agency.

"We said at the time Tony would be welcome back in the future, and we understand why the excitement of what's happening here at Walmart, in the end, proved magnetic," wrote a Wal-Mart spokesman in an e-mail.

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Contributing: Jack Neff
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