Hires Fusion 5 of Connecticut

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DETROIT ( -- Chrysler Group has reached outside the Omnicom Group family and hired Fusion 5,
Fusion 5 to develop strategies for Chrysler's regional operations.

Westport, Conn., as a brand marketing consultant to develop non-advertising programs and strategies. Terms of the deal weren't revealed.

George Murphy, senior vice president of global brand marketing for the Chrysler Group, said Fusion 5 will, among other things, help develop local strategies for the automaker's new regional organization. Fusion 5 executives "grew up doing regional marketing programs" for Coca-Cola Co. and RJR Nabisco, he said.

During the multiyear contract, Fusion 5 will work closely with Omnicom's PentaMark Worldwide, Troy, Mich.

Changing of the guard
Pentamark was formed after Omnicom and its BBDO Worldwide unit won Chrysler's consolidated global creative and media accounts last fall. The top-level Chrysler Group executives who had picked PentaMark have since left the automaker. Mr. Murphy and his boss, Jim Schroer, executive vice president of sales and marketing, arrived in late February from Ford Motor Co.

"PentaMark will do all the leg work" of Fusion 5's strategic planning, Mr. Murphy said.

It's unclear how the deal will effect PentaMark. Bill Hackett, executive vice president of strategic planning at the agency, took early retirement and left the shop last week. Mr. Murphy said he had never met Mr. Hackett, nor did he know whether his departure was at all related to the hiring of Fusion 5.

Mike Vogel, chairman-CEO of PentaMark, didn't return a call by deadline.

Previous relationship
Mr. Murphy and Mr. Schroer worked with Fusion 5 while at Ford. Fusion 5, which also has experience in youth marketing, helped launch Ford Division's small car, Focus, in 1999 and did work for Ford in Brazil and Europe.

Chrysler Group will also call on Fusion 5 for help with the Chrysler PT Cruiser in Europe, Mr. Murphy added.

Fusion 5 is the North American arm of Added Value Group, a marketing and market researcher in London.

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