A former executive with Havas' Euro RSCG Worldwide was indicted for embezzling $1 million from the agency, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York said. Dominador Ponsades, 41, allegedly used $300,000 of the money to bolster his wine collection. Officials say Mr. Ponsades allegedly forged signatures of Euro RSCG workers on checks drawn on a Euro RSCG account, and submitted fraudulent expense reports and check requests. Euro RSCG Worldwide general counsel Nancy Wynne said the improprieties were discovered in March 2001, and Mr. Ponsades was terminated. She emphasized Mr. Ponsades was the chief financial officer of a non-operating company and that "there were no client funds lost or impact to our financial statement." Mr. Ponsades was charged in Manhattan federal court with five counts of mail fraud, one count of bank fraud and two counts of interstate transportation of fraudulently obtained securities. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao18s
Unilever Bestfoods names new CEO
Unilever appointed John W. Rice as business group president-CEO of Unilever Bestfoods North America. Mr. Rice, 50, who replaces former Unilever Bestfoods President-CEO Neil Beckerman, will continue as CEO of Unilever's Slim Fast Worldwide unit. Mr. Beckerman, who ran the Best Foods business prior to Unilever's acquisition, resigned last week for "personal and family reasons," a company spokesman said. But Prudential Securities analyst John McMillin said Unilever was not successful this year in growing its brands. Mr. Beckerman, he added, was "a Bestfoods person," while Mr. Rice has proved his mettle as a longtime Unilever executive. Mr. Beckerman could not be reached for comment.
Meredith adopts `American Baby'
Meredith Corp. last week agreed to purchase Primedia's American Baby Group of magazines and related products for $155 million. Stephen Lacy, president of Meredith's Publishing Group, said the deal was part of the company's strategy to woo younger readers, particularly women. Previously, Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing, which owns Parents and Child, had talks with Primedia over a potential deal for the properties, which include American Baby, Childbirth and First Year of Life. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao17v
Fallon staffs up creative team
Fallon worldwide rebuilt its creative ranks last week. "We were understaffed," said David Lubars, president-executive creative director of Fallon North America. In its Minneapolis headquarters, Todd Riddle, 39, joins as a group creative director-art director from senior VP- group creative director at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston. Fallon alum Bobby Pearce, 36, rejoins as a group creative director-copywriter from Omincom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Fancisco. Courtney Culligan, 28, shifted to copywriter from account supervisor. The agency also added Christopher Toland, 37, as senior art director for Fallon's West Wing in Santa Monica, from associate creative director-head of art for Leagas/Delaney, San Francisco. In addition, four staffers from the Minneapolis office move to New York to bring its department to seven. Heading east are Art Director Paul Malmstrom, 36, and Copywriter Linus Karlsson, 34, who have developed campaigns for MTV and Lee jeans. Also moving to New York: Jenny Gadd Malmstrom, 30, a senior producer, and Eric Cosper, 35, art director, who most recently created the Buddy Lee effort for Lee.
IPG creates board liaison position
Interpublic Group of Cos. named Frank J. Borelli presiding director. He will act as a liaison between the board and management. Mr. Borelli, who retired in 2000 as chief financial officer of financial services firm Marsh & McLennan Cos., has been an Interpublic board member since 1995 and chairs the audit committee. This move follows disclosures of earnings restatements and forecasts of lower revenue and profits, issues that earlier sent Interpublic stock tumbling. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao18l
Omnicom group's BBDO Worldwide elevated Andrew Robertson to the position of president, BBDO Worldwide. Mr. Robertson will continue as president-CEO of BBDO North America. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao18n. ... Robert Hawthorne, CEO of struggling cooperative Ocean Spray Cranberries, resigned. Board member Barbara Thomas, a former president of Warner-Lambert's consumer health-care division, will serve as interim CEO. ... Richard G. Porter was named president of rurally aimed newspaper supplement American Profile and senior VP of its parent company, Publishing Group of America. Mr. Porter was most recently exec VP-interactive marketing sales for AOL Time Warner. ... The U.S. Postal Service last week said current postal rates could remain in effect until 2006, two years later than previously planned. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao17x. ... Anti-smoking group American Legacy Foundation is reviewing all its accounts, including media, creative and PR, as the end of its funding looms. Its final $300 million in funding (part of an agreement with 46 state attorneys general to settle state tobacco suits) comes in March, and the group hopes investments and cost cutting will keep the program running through 2008. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao18i ... Michael Carr, exec VP, Playboy Enterprises and president-publishing group, is leaving the company as his position was eliminated. Alex Vaickus was named president-global licensing and company exec VP.