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Saatchi's Ritter Will Consult for Toyota

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LOS ANGELES Kurt Ritter, chief executive officer of Saatchi & Saatchi's Toyota flagship office in Torrance, Calif., will become an independent marketing consultant and continue to work with the Publicis Groupe auto client.

The consultancy will be based in Torrance and called Against All Odds. Ritter said the name was taken from the book Against All Odds: The Story of the Toyota Motor Corporation and the Family that Created It by Yukiyasu Togo and William Wartman.

Ritter declined to comment on the saga of his departure from General Motors and then from Saatchi. "I want to look forward, not backward," he said. "There's been way too much written on Kurt Ritter."

Ritter left Saatchi this week after only a month on the job following a very public rift between Publicis and General Motors over the hiring of Ritter, a three-decade GM executive [Adweek Online, June 22].

GM's Cadillac and Pontiac nameplates are handled by other Publicis shops and the client made its displeasure about Ritter working on a rival car account clear to Publicis.

Ritter will work on strategic positioning for both Toyota corporate and its divisions, said Toyota representative Mike Michels, adding "we're happy with the arrangement and looking forward to getting back to work."

Replacing Ritter as leader of the office will be Rich Anderman, managing director and COO, who was promoted to president, Michels said.

Saatchi and GM executives were not immediately available for comment.

This story updates an item posted earlier today.