Kmart Shifts Ad Duties to CIO

Karen Austin, 41, Kmart’s chief information officer since April 2002, will permanently assume the company’s marketing responsibilities following the June 13 departure of Barbara Firment, a Kmart rep said. Sources said Kmart dismissed Firment, 51, svp of advertising, sales and in-store presentation. Firment could not be reached. Kmart spent $270 million on ads in 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/ CMR. The change will not affect Kmart’s agency relationships, the rep said. Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\ Day in New York handles broadcast duties; Meridian Advertising in Troy, Mich., works on print.