Exec Shift Precedes Panasonic Pitch

Panasonic Consumer Electronics’ review of creative and media duties in the U.S comes in the wake of a shift in the company’s marketing ranks.

Robert Perry, executive vice president of sales, marketing and product research, last month absorbed the duties of vice president of marketing Christine Amirian, who shifted to a top marketing role in another division: Panasonic System Networks Co. of America, according to a company representative.

Panasonic has issued a request for proposals to prospective agencies and plans to identify a handful of finalists by the end of November, the company rep said. “We are moving on an aggressive schedule,” the rep added.

The incumbents on the electronics’ business — MDC Partners’ Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners and sister media unit The Media Kitchen, both in New York — are not defending, an agency representative said.

Panasonic’s major media spending has declined in recent years after growing to nearly $90 million in 2006. In 2007, the total fell to $47 million before shrinking again, to nearly $30 million last year, according to Nielsen. The total through August exceeded $20 million. Those figures don’t include online spending.

Kirshenbaum landed the account in 2006 after a review in which Omnicom Group’s Merkley + Partners and Havas’ Arnold in New York were the other finalists. Before that, WPP Group’s Grey in New York was Panasonic’s lead creative agency.