FYI 6.23.2010

Steve Betz Will Leave Shanghai GM; Mars Consolidates China Media with Starcom; Chengdu City Hires GroupM; Hutchison Whampoa Appoints Grey; Metro Cash & Carry Hires Weber Shandwick; Y&R Promotes Jaime Prieto; Charm Promotes Linna Li

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Steve Betz, one of the top executive at Shanghai General Motors Co., a 50-50 partnership between General Motors Corp. and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Group, one of China's largest passenger-car manufacturers, is returning to the U.S.

Mr. Betz, the general director for Chevrolet, which is manufactured by Shanghai GM in China, will relocate to New York next week as regional manager for customer care and after sales for 11 states in America's northeast region.

Mr. Betz is returning to the U.S. for personal reasons but his move comes at the end of his four-year contract with Shanghai GM. He will be succeeded by Richard Choi, now director of partner programs at GM China, largely responsible for commercial-vehicle projects.

Mars Inc. has consolidated the media-planning and -buying business for its Mars and Wrigley brands in China with Starcom MediaVest Group. The win followed a pitch between the Publicis Groupe agency and MEC, ZenithOptimedia and OMD and follows the global merger of Mars and Wrigley, which took effect Oct. 6, 2008. MEC has handled Wrigley's media-buying and-planning business in the mainland since 2005, while ZenithOptimedia has handled the Mars account since 2009.

"The combination of Mars and Wrigley provides a strategic opportunity that requires the optimum agency structure to ultimately drive growth and efficiencies that address our collective media needs," said Jean Zhang, VP-marketing for Mars China.

Chengdu's city government has hired Group M to help the Sichuan city raise its image at home and abroad, namely in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and the U.S. Since 2007, Group M has worked on various local projects including the annual Chengdu Gourmet Festival and image campaigns after the devastating earthquake that hit the region in May 2008.
Hutchison Whampoa, one of the leading property developers in Hong Kong and mainland China, has hired Grey, Hong Kong to handle branding and advertising for a luxury, low-density residential-development project now in development in Beijing's Chaoyang district.
The self-service wholesaler Metro Cash & Carry has appointed Weber Shandwick to handle corporate communications and support the company's association the 2010 World Expo. The assignment includes development of a nationwide road show to 19 stores and communications around its sponsorship of the Duesseldorf pavilion in Shanghai.
Y&R has promoted Hong Kong-based Jaime Prieto to international managing director for its Colgate-Palmolive business from regional managing director, a role he's held for the past two years. In his expanded role, he will be responsible for the development of integrated-marketing campaigns running in Asia, parts of Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Australia. Before he joined Y&R in 2008, Mr. Prieto spent over 17 years at Ogilvy & Mather, lastly as global executive group director for the agency's Motorola account in New York.
Charm Communications has promoted Beijing-based Linna Li to VP in charge of its CCTV buying platform, handling more than 70% of the Chinese agency's total TV buying business. Previously, she was general manager of its TV buying and trading business.

Charm works with marketers like the Agriculture Bank of China, China Telecom, Snow Beer and Midea. Under the Shangxing Media brand, Charm has exclusive arrangements with four programs on China Central Television (CCTV) and two satellite-TV channels, Shanghai Dragon TV and Tianjin Satellite TV, including ad sales and branded content deals. In January 2010, the agency formed a joint venture with Aegis Media, now a strategic investor in Charm, to operate Aegis Media's Vizeum brand in China.

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