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LONDON -- Bert Meerstadt, CEO of Young & Rubicam Europe, Middle East and Africa, announced May 16 that he is resigning his post this summer. Y&R was recently acquired by WPP Group.

Mr. Meerstadt will leave the post he assumed three years ago to become chief commercial officer and a board member with Nederlandse Spoorwegan (Dutch Railways).

He will be replaced by Etienne Boisrand, 49, a former CEO of Y&R France and chairman of Y&R in Asia prior to going on a sabbatical that ends July 1.

Mr. Meerstadt said the decision to leave Y&R after nine years was "not easy." But, he added, "now that the integration of Y&R into WPP has been seen through, my wife, Fleur, and I feel that the time has come for our family to move back to The Netherlands."

Ed Vick, CEO of Y&R Advertising, said that although the company "regrets Bert's departure and [will] miss his contribution greatly," his decision is respected. Mr. Vick points to the strong standing of the Europe, Middle East and Africa region within the network: Under Mr. Meerstadt, it saw record growth and more than 20 mergers and acquisitions.

Mr. Vick described Mr. Boisrand as "one of our most outstanding leaders," who has been part of "some of the most famous and powerful advertising campaigns in Europe and the world."-- Suzanne Bidlake

Copyright May 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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