DAWN HUDSON, FRITO-LAY

Moves Easily Across Client, Agency Role

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Ever since Dawn Hudson took her first marketing post in 1979 at what was then Compton Advertising, New York, she had a grand plan: "To run a major agency network. No question."

She came close to realizing that ambition when she was named managing director of D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, in April 1996. But six months later, Ms. Hudson jumped to the client side.

Now, at 39, she is exec VP-sales & marketing at Frito-Lay, steering the PepsiCo unit's formidable international marketing effort. Already known as a winner at Frito-Lay because of her long experience on the account at DDB Needham Worldwide, Ms. Hudson is primed to climb the corporate ladder at PepsiCo.

While at DDB Needham's New York office, she was exec VP-client services working on Frito-Lay and also Johnson & Johnson. After 10 years there, she seized the opportunity to lead DMB&B's New York office.

"Agencies are people going up and down in elevators," she says. "What makes them excel is an inspired passion for ideas." During her short tenure at DMB&B, from where she says she was lured by only the unbeatable opportunity of working for Frito, "I saw the preliminary power of that spirit."

Ms. Hudson isn't a stranger to the client side, however.

From Compton she moved to Clairol, where she was a product manager before joining Tatham-Laird & Kudner, Chicago, and then DDB Needham.

Today, Ms. Hudson says, she realizes she doesn't want the agency job she once hungered for: "I realize now it's less about titles and less about the ego of the position and more about what I can do in the job."

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