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Sony Ericsson Loses Marketing Chief

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NEW YORK Sony Ericsson's vp and head of marketing Dee Dutta will resign at the end of the month, after six years with the company.

News about the impending departure was disclosed March 25, on the eve of the first match at the 2008 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, a sponsorship that Dutta was instrumental in brokering. Dutta did not specify reasons for his departure.

"I am very proud of the achievements that my team and I have made in growing the brand and look forward to the next challenge in my career," he said in a statement.

Dutta joined the London-based joint venture between Japan's electronics giant Sony and Sweden's Ericsson as global head of brand and communications in June 2002. He became head of global marketing for the provider of wireless handsets, accessories and content in July 2007.

During his tenure, Sony Ericsson became the title sponsor of the Women's Tennis Association Tour. That affiliation was parlayed into the Sony Ericsson Open, a 12-day event running through April 6 this year on the WTA Tour and the men's Association of Tennis Professionals Tour calendars. The second annual tournament includes defending champion Serena Williams, Wimbledon champ Venus Williams, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick.

Dutta's replacement wasn't named.

As the year began, Sony Ericsson tapped Interpublic Group's McCann Erickson in London to handle its $160 million global advertising and communications business without a review. Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi had handled the account for slightly more than a year. McCann, however, was no stranger to the brand, having worked with Sony Ericsson in 2006 to help launch the client's Walkman phones.