Five exit Lowe Direct

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Five top executives at Lowe Direct, New York, have left to form an independent agency called Lieber, Levett, Koenig, Farese, & Babcock, also New York. Harry Koenig, vice chairman-chief operating officer of the new agency and former chief operating officer of Lowe Direct, said the group had been hatching a plan to split from Interpublic Group's Lowe "since Friday night," Oct. 11, and that all five of the new agency partners resigned Monday Oct. 14.

"We're very entrepreneurial," Mr. Lieber said. He said the group, which doesn't have clients yet, will begin pitches next week. J. Robert Lieber, former CEO of Lowe Direct, will be CEO of the new agency; Paul Levett becomes vice chairman-creative director from chief strategist of Lowe Direct; Sonny Farese becomes exec VP-creative director; and Loreen Babcock, who joined Lowe Direct last summer as senior VP-group account director, is president.

At Lowe, Lynn Fantom replaces Mr. Lieber as CEO. Ms. Fantom had been a vice chair at DraftDirect. Lowe is expected to announce several new hires to handle direct healthcare business in the coming weeks. A Lowe Direct spokesman had no comment about the new agency's formation.

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