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[New York] Novartis has chosen WPP Group's Bravo Group, New York, as its first Hispanic agency of record after a final pitch involving at least five agencies, according to executives familiar with the review. A Novartis executive said he could not confirm the appointment. Also pitching were Interpublic Group of Cos.' GlobalHue, Publicis Groupe's Conill, independent Vidal Partnership and GlobalWork's HispanicWorks division. WPP's CommonHealth Group already has Novartis business. See QwikFIND aap69w

DiMassimo hires Carr, adds name to business

[New York] Nigel Carr, former managing partner and general manager of Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners West, San Francisco, is joining independent shop DiMassimo Brand Advertising, New York, as managing partner-chief strategy officer. The agency is changing its name to DiMassimo Carr. Mr. Carr, known for his planning expertise, was with Kirshenbaum for 12 years but left the company shortly before holding company MDC partners acquired a stake in the agency.

Owens to marketing VP in Anheuser-Busch shift

[St. Louis] Anheuser-Busch last week merged its sales and marketing functions, naming Michael J. Owens VP-sales and marketing, a newly created post that reports to President August A. Busch IV. Mr. Owens, an A-B veteran since 1981, adds responsibility for all marketing divisions to his current U.S. sales role as VP-retail marketing. Mr. Owens also joins the marketer's strategy committee, as does Robert C. Lachky, VP-brand management and director-global brand creative, and Anthony T. Ponturo, VP-global media and sports marketing. Messrs. Lachky and Ponturo now will report to Mr. Owens, but Mr. Lachky will continue to report directly to Mr. Busch on all creative strategy and development. See QwikFIND aap69p

Lagani exits Meredith amid reorganization

[New York] Longtime publishing executive Joe Lagani left Meredith Corp. late last week following a wide-ranging reorganization of its magazine division. Mr. Lagani had been VP-group publisher of Country Home and Traditional Home. The changes, announced on June 3, promoted several key executives to senior VP positions. Among them: Susan Baron, publisher of the American Baby Group, was promoted to senior VP to oversee American Baby Group and flagship Better Homes & Gardens. Michael Brownstein, VP-Meredith Corporate Solutions, is now senior VP overseeing Mr. Lagani's portfolio and Midwest Living. Jeannine Shao Collins, formerly group publisher overseeing Ladies' Home Journal and More, is now senior VP overseeing those titles.

Hill Holliday cuts headquarters staff

[Boston] Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos has laid off about 20 people, or 5% of its headquarters staff, amid a reorganization and anticipation of lower revenues now that its client, Fleet, has merged with Bank of America. Bank of America consolidated at Interpublic in 2003. It has not clarified how its marketing will shake out, but a Hill Holliday spokesman said the agency has been told it will have at least some work. Hill Holliday employs about 800 people, with half of those in Boston.

Martha Stewart adds four new board members

[New York] Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia nominated four new board members, including well-known names from the advertising and marketing worlds. The new nominees: Rick Boyko, who heads Virginia Commonwealth University AdCenter and was former chief creative officer of WPP's Ogilvy & Mather; Michael Goldstein, former chairman-CEO of Toys `R' Us; Susan Lyne, former president of ABC Entertainment; and Wenda Millard, chief sales officer of Yahoo! . Shareholders will vote for the new nominees at MSO's upcoming annual stockholders' meeting on June 21. The board will expand from five to nine people. See QwikFIND aap69s

Nestle, General Mills deal called `wishful thinking'

[New York] Although rumors swirled June 4 that Nestle was considering a $22 billion acquisition of struggling food behemoth General Mills, Nestle and analysts who watch the company deem it unlikely. A Nestle spokesman declined to comment specifically on the rumors, but he cited remarks made earlier last week by Nestle CEO and Vice Chairman Peter Brabeck in which Mr. Brabeck said there is no large acquisition on the horizon for the company. Prudential Securities analyst John McMillin put out a note calling the rumored deal "wishful thinking" by General Mills shareholders, whose investments have suffered during the last few years, and another analyst similarly dismissed the reports. General Mills failed to return calls by press time. See QwikFIND aap69q

Postaer takes post at Euro RSCG, Chicago

[Chicago] Euro RSCG Worldwide, Chicago, hired Steffan Postaer as chairman-chief creative officer. Mr. Postaer, 41, was exec VP-chief creative officer of Publicis Groupe's LBWorks, a spinoff of Leo Burnett USA that was absorbed into the agency in January. At Euro, Mr. Postaer's role incorporates responsibilities formerly handled by Jim Schmidt, who resigned in March. Mr. Postaer will also oversee creative related to all marketing communications services operating under the Euro RSCG 4D unit. A start date has not yet been determined.

FYI ...

Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. named David Lauren, son of founder Ralph Lauren, to head up marketing, advertising and corporate communications for the lifestyle company. Mr. Lauren, formerly senior VP-advertising, marketing and corporate communications, takes over for Jeff Morgan, who was promoted to division president-product licensing. ... Jan Thompson joins Nissan North America July 1 as VP-marketing from Omnicom Group's marketing services' firm The Designory, where she was president-CEO. She succeeds Steve Wilhite who moves to Japan as VP-global marketing. ... Shell Oil Co.'s Jiffy Lube International kicks off a U.S. summer promotion with more than 2 million direct-mail postcards, dropping mid-month. It offers drivers two free movie tickets at participating theaters and a $5-off coupon for quick Signature Service oil changes at Jiffy using sibling Pennzoil or Quaker State brands. Quantum Loyalty, Incline Village, Nev., is handling. ... Children's Place is in negotiations to purchase Walt Disney Co.'s retail stores (see related story, P. 20). ... MDC Partners last week announced its purchase of a portion of Bruce Mau Design, Toronto. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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