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Olson Recruits Kroening as ECD

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CHICAGO For the second time in a year, Minneapolis agency Olson + Co. has raided crosstown shop Carmichael Lynch to bolster its senior ranks, this time tapping group creative director Brian Kroening to take over as executive creative director.

The hire comes eight months after Olson named Kevin DiLorenzo, senior partner at PR unit Carmichael Lynch Spong, as managing partner.

Kroening, who starts June 7, takes over the shop's 15-member creative department from president John Olson, who will focus on his other duties. "He shares our culture of collaboration and not doing things in a particular kind of way," Olson said of Kroening.

DiLorenzo, who manages daily operations, and Kroening "are the two pillars that will allow us to tell our story in a bigger way," Olson said.

The agency, an independent that claims $55 million in billings, has several professional sports teams on its client roster including the National Basketball Association's Detroit Pistons, the National Football League's Seattle Seahawks and the National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild, as well as supermarket chain Cub Foods and Grain Belt beer.

Kroening, 43, is an art director by trade who said he sees his new job as an opportunity to shape a creative agency. He was especially impressed with the shop's media-neutral approach, he said.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Kroening moved to Minneapolis in 1988 for a job at Campbell Mithun. For the next nine years, he worked on CM clients including Andersen Windows, General Mills and Healthy Choice. He joined Interpublic Group's CL as a senior art director in 1997.

Kroening's clients at CL included the American Advertising Federation and Gibson Guitars. An accomplished guitarist, Kroening's playing was featured in a Gibson TV commercial. CL has phased out the gcd title and will split Kroening's duties among its six creative directors.