The Week

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J.D. Power and Associates may be shopping for new owners, after the privately held market researcher hired Evercore Partners, New York, to explore outside financing options. Tom Shaver, a senior partner, said the move doesn't necessarily signal an outright sale as the Westlake Village, Calif. firm looks to grow. Auto industry experts speculated suitors could include agency holding companies, as Omnicom Group owns auto consultancy AMCI. An ex-staffer said Chairman J. D. Power III, who founded the firm in 1968, is in his early 70s and has thought about taking the outfit public over the years. But his asking price was too high and Mr. Power has rebuffed outside offers over the years.

Fudge attacks death of diversity

Young & Rubicam Brands management will review a "very comprehensive diversity plan" in coming weeks, said Ann Fudge, chairman-CEO of the WPP Group network. In a speech about her career before members of the Advertising Club of New York City, she mentioned her surprise, upon taking her current job, at the advertising industry's "dearth of diversity." She emphasized that the challenge is not unique to the advertising industry, but it "has a way to go." Since joining in May 2003, Ms. Fudge has undertaken a thorough evaluation of the agency's workforce, including minorities. She didn't divulge details on the plan, but said that "it is not just about getting the numbers."

Kyan of `Queer Eye' to pitch for L'Oreal

L'Oreal will use "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" grooming expert Kyan Douglas as a consultant and spokesman for its L'Oreal Paris brand. Mr. Douglas, one of the "Fab Five" makeover team in the Bravo show, will consult on new product development and will tout L'Oreal's cosmetics, skin care and hair products for men and women to consumers, according to the company. The deal marks the first time L'Oreal has used a single spokesperson for its raft of brands across categories ranging from hair colors such as Preference and Feria and skin-care lines such as Dermo-Expertise to L'Oreal Color Cosmetics. QwikFIND: aaq06d

Burson-Marsteller recruits global CEO

Thomas R. Nides will become Worldwide President-CEO of Burson-Marsteller, Nov. 8, replacing Christopher P.A. Komisarjevsky, who will retire from the PR firm at the end of the year. Mr. Nides, 43, was most recently global chief administrative officer of Credit Suisse First Boston. The two executives will work together during a transition period. Mr. Komisarjevsky, 59, joined Burson-Marsteller, a unit of WPP Group's Young & Rubicam Brands, in 1995 and became worldwide president-CEO in 1998.

Wieden shuffle hints of succession plan

In a move that may signal the start of a transition, Dan Wieden will share the top creative spot at Wieden & Kennedy, San Francisco. Mr. Wieden named 11-year agency veteran John Jay, 55, as executive creative director and a member of the agency's global management team. Mr. Jay headed Wieden & Kennedy's Tokyo and Shanghai offices, where he pioneered nontraditional ventures such as music label W&KTokyoLabs. Mr. Wieden, 59, solely handled executive creative duties since co-founder David Kennedy left in 1993.

An agency spokeswoman called Mr. Jay's appointment "a nod" to his importance in the organization but declined to comment on whether Mr. Jay has been anointed Mr. Wieden's successor. Wieden & Kennedy is the 5th largest independent U.S. agency with 2003 revenue of $78.6 million, up 11.4% from 2002, according to Advertising Age's annual agency report. QwikFIND: aaq06m

XM Radio adds baseball to lineup

The satellite radio tug of war for content continues to escalate as XM Satellite Radio Holdings signs an 11-year, $650 million agreement with Major League Baseball. XM will broadcast regular season and postseason games, including the World Series, starting in 2005. As part of the deal, XM will create a Major League Baseball channel that will feature both original content and classic games. XM CEO Hugh Panero called the deal the "crown jewel" for his network. Though XM has 2.5 million subscribers to Sirius' 700,000, it has been Sirius garnering the headlines of late with deals with the National Football League and shock jock Howard Stern. QwikFIND: aaq06h

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