FYI 03.25.2009

Jarek Ziebinski to Succeed Michelle Kristula-Green at Leo Burnett; Volvo expects sales growth in China will top 10% in 2009; Synovate appoints Edwin Song and Julia Wong

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After more than 20 years in Asia, Leo Burnett's regional head Michelle Kristula-Green is moving to a corporate job at the agency's Chicago headquarters and will be succeeded in Asia by Jarek Ziebinski, who currently runs Burnett's operations in Central and Eastern Europe.

Mr. Ziebinski, 46, will move to Singapore to become president of Leo Burnett Asia-Pacific (Ms. Kristula-Green was based in both Hong Kong and Tokyo). A native of Poland, Mr. Ziebinski joined the agency network in 1996 as CEO of Leo Burnett Poland, the largest communication group in Poland. Before that, he was a marketing director for Gerber Products Co. in Poland. He started his career as a journalist at TV Poland, after graduating from Warsaw University in 1986 with a Master of Science degree in genetics.

The agency is looking for his successor as CEO of Leo Burnett Central and Eastern Europe.

Ms. Kristula-Green will take the job of global head of HR, previously held by Patrick Venetucci, who becomes deputy chief operating officer.

During her long career in Asia, Ms. Kristula-Green, 52, was the first woman to run a multinational agency in Japan. She was president-representative of Beacon Communications, formed in 2001 by the merger of the Tokyo offices of Publicis Group agencies including Leo Burnett with Dentsu's Procter & Gamble Co. unit.

Ms. Kristula-Green was named one of Ad Age's Women to Watch in 2004 for that achievement. Later in 2004, she scored another first as the first woman to run an ad agency regional network in Asia when she became president of Leo Burnett in Asia-Pacific, succeeding Richard Pinder, who returned to London as president of Leo Burnett Worldwide for Europe, Middle East and Africa. (Mr. Pinder is currently chief operating officer of Publicis Worldwide, and based in Paris).
--by Laurel Wentz, an Ad Age reporter in New York
Volvo believes China's auto market will continue to grow in 2009 and that its own sales will recover and increase by more than 10% there this year. Volvo sold about 13,000 locally produced and imported cars in China last year, said Alexander Klose, CEO of Volvo Car China last week in Beijing.

Last year was the first time in the past five years that Volvo's annual sales growth in China has declined to below 10%, added Mr. Klose, at an event held in Beijing earlier this month for the launch of a long-wheelbase version of the S80L in China.

The S80L has a wheelbase 140mm longer than that of the imported S80, and is specially developed for Chinese customers. The car provides deeply padded leather seats, a rear seat entertainment system and a refrigerator in the back seat to attract China's chauffeur-driven customers. Stretched versions of the Audi A6 and BMW 5 series are selling well in China.

The end of last year was a tough time for Volvo in China, Mr. Klose said, but confidence is "coming back" in the market after strong sales during the first two months of this year.

The S80L is assembled by Ford Motor Co.'s joint venture Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co. in the southwest China city of Chongqing.

The S80L only shares a limited number of components with other brands made in the factory, Gerry Keaney, VP of Volvo Car Group, told Automotive News China at the same event. Key components such as engines and transmissions still have to be imported from Sweden. "China offers a significant opportunity for Volvo in parts sourcing and we look to secure and expand our localization in China."

Volvo will import the XC60 SUV in April. Volvo started assembling the S40 sedan in China in 2006. It also sells the imported S80 sedan, C30 hatchback, C70 convertible and XC 90 SUV in the market there.
by Kevin Huang and Lan Lan, reporters for Automotive News China
Synovate has appointed Edwin Song as executive director of its operation in China and Julia Wong as associate director. Previously, Mr. Song was managing director of Added Value Oracle's Shanghai office.

Most recently Ms. Wong was a consultant with SK Telecom in Seoul. Before that, she managed loyalty programs at Cathay Pacific Airways and the InterContinental Hotels Group.

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