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Lowe London Picks Leader

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NEW YORK Interpublic Group's Lowe in London has filled its CEO vacancy with Amanda Walsh, former European CEO of Red Cell. Walsh, who starts Oct. 2, succeeds Garry Lace, who exited abruptly in May.

Walsh, 47, left WPP Group's Red Cell three months ago. She joined that agency in May 2004 and, when Red Cell rebranded as United in January, assumed the role of president.

Before Red Cell, Walsh was CEO of Walsh Trott Chick Smith, a London shop she co-founded in 1995. Earlier in her career, she held a series of progressively senior posts at WCRS in London, starting as account director and rising to managing director.

"Amanda is a major player in the U.K. ad industry with a wealth of experience," said Lowe worldwide CEO Stephen Gatfield in a statement. "She was a natural choice to bring modern, sure-footed, entrepreneurial, creatively centered business management to Lowe London."

At Lowe, Walsh will join a management team that includes executive creative director Ed Morris, chief strategy officer Rebecca Morgan, managing director Chris Hunton and chief marketing officer Judy Mitchem.

Lace left three months after his superiors launched a probe into allegations that last year he met more than once with ex-agency chairman Frank Lowe to discuss the Tesco creative account then at Lowe. When the probe began, he was suspended.

In early December, four days after Frank Lowe said he was opening a new agency in London, Tesco reassigned its $80 million account to the new shop, known as The Red Brick Road [Adweek Online, Dec. 5]. The actual handoff took place in March.

The shift was attributed to Frank Lowe's long history with the client. The client move also came after Lowe London chairman Paul Weinberger resigned to join Red Brick Road. Weinberger had steered the business at Lowe.