Fudge Succeeds Dolan as Y&R CEO

NEW YORK Young & Rubicam worldwide CEO and chairman Mike Dolan stepped down on Monday, giving way to former Kraft executive Ann Fudge, the agency confirmed.

Like Dolan, Fudge will head both the ad agency and corporate entity Y&R Inc., which includes sister shops Wunderman, Landor and Burson-Marsteller. She starts immediately.

The sudden move took agency staffers by surprise, particularly given Dolan’s strong hand in two significant wins this year: Chevron and Burger King. He also steered the search that led to the hiring of Michael Patti in February. Patti is chairman and CEO of the New York office and worldwide creative director.

Dolan, who joined WPP Group’s Y&R in 1996, said in a statement, “We successfully transformed a private company into a publicly held one. We merged with WPP, strengthened our senior management worldwide and created the Y&R Advertising/Wunderman Alliance … Now that the merger with WPP has been firmly grounded, the time has come to step down and pursue other interests.”

Fudge has some 20 years’ experience on the client side, having worked at both Kraft, where she was president of the division for beverages, desserts and Post cereals, and General Mills, where she held several marketing posts. She also serves on the boards of General Electric, Honeywell and Marriott.

In a brief statement, Fudge said, “I look forward to working with the talent people of Y&R to continue to deliver outstanding work for our client partners and build upon the great legacy of this company.”