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Y&R's Lincoln Mercury Team Leaves Irvine

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LOS ANGELES Nearly eight months after Ford Motor Co. said it would move its Lincoln Mercury division from Irvine, Calif., back to Dearborn, Mich., the Y&R Cos. here has nearly completed transitioning members of its staff to Dearborn, an agency representative confirmed.

The client service and leadership teams for Lincoln Mercury are now in place in Dearborn, said the representative of the WPP shop. Employees that have made the move from Irvine include evp, chief initiative officer Peter Rentschler; Lincoln Mercury svp, brand team leader Tim Reisen; Brian Rogers, who is evp, group director on the Lincoln Mercury Dealer Association business; vice president, account director Chris Arkell, who had been the account director on the Jaguar business in Irvine; Jack Valente, who headed Mediaedge:cia here as evp and will now lead media operations for both offices; and CFO Tim Sylvain, who will also oversee the financial operations for both offices.

To replace Arkell here on the Jaguar account, Y&R has elevated Maria-Jose Tennison to account director. Jennifer Thomson has also been promoted to senior vice president for Mediaedge: cia in Irvine, reporting to Valente.

Earlier this month, Y&R named Bertrand Garbassi and Lance Paull co-group creative directors in Dearborn, leading creative for Lincoln Mercury and the LMDA. Garbassi joined from Euro RSCG in San Francisco, while Paull had been freelancing for Y&R.

While the total number of employees making the move was undisclosed, the agency representative said that each senior-level transfer brings "a significant team" to Dearborn. He added that all of the shop's employees who work on the Lincoln Mercury business were offered the opportunity to follow their jobs to Dearborn. Both offices are expected to be roughly the same size once hiring in Dearborn is complete: Irvine with 310-315, down from 380 at the end of 2002, and Dearborn with approximately 300.

Overall, the Lincoln Mercury division spent $240 million on advertising in 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

For several Y&R employees, including Rentschler, Reisen, Sylvain and Arkell, the move to Dearborn is a homecoming. When Lincoln Mercury moved its headquarters from Dearborn to Irvine in 1998, Y&R moved approximately 50 employees to the West Coast to service the business.