Seventh Executive Pleads Guilty to Bid Rigging

NEW YORK—Steven Briggin, a sales representative for New York print supplier Darbert Offset Corp., became the seventh person to plead guilty to charges arising from a Department of Justice investigation of several printing- and graphics-supply companies and the former head of Grey’s print services, Mitch Mosallem. Briggin admitted to rigging bids and conspiring to pay kickbacks to mid-level ad shop Impact Communications in New York.

Lincoln Mercury Moving Back to Michigan

DETROIT—Ford Motor Co. said it is relocating its Lincoln Mercury division from Irvine, Calif., back to Dearborn, Mich., in the summer of 2003. About 90 Ford employees currently work in Irvine for Lincoln Mercury. It is expected that WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam, which relocated dozens of employees to Irvine in 1998 when the automaker moved out to California, will follow the client.

Ex-Euro RSCG Exec Charged With Embezzling $1 Mil.

NEW YORK—Dominador Ponsades, a former vp for finance at Euro RSCG Worldwide, has been charged by federal prosecutors with embezzling $1 million from the agency. An indictment unsealed last week alleges that between December 1996 and March 2001, Ponsades forged expense reports to cover personal debts and expenses, notably $300,000 to enlarge his wine collection. Ponsades, 41, handled the company’s internal bookkeeping in Euro’s New York office and was not responsible for clients’ funds. He worked at Euro since mid-1995 and was fired in March 2001 following an internal investigation into possible financial improprieties that seemed to implicate him, said Nancy Wynne, Euro’s general counsel.

Thompson Elevated at OMD

LOS ANGELES—Omnicom Group’s OMD USA named Page Thompson CEO of OMD North America, a new post. He had been chief strategy officer of OMD USA. Thompson will join the worldwide board of OMD and report to Joe Uva, president and CEO of OMD Worldwide. Thompson will oversee all OMD offices in the U.S. and Canada. Succeeding Thompson is Monica Karo, managing director of OMD West. Also, Dan Rank, managing director of OMD USA, is leaving to join Universal Television Group, sources said. A successor has yet to be named.

Eckerd Contacts Agencies for $50 Mil. Work

CHICAGO—Eckerd Corp. has sent out proposal requests to a handful of agencies for its estimated $50 million ad account, sources said. The chain’s business has been with ja&g advertising in Cincinnati. Eckerd, a subsidiary of J.C. Penney, could not be reached.

Legacy Audits $50-75 Mil. Media Buying Duties

WASHINGTON—The American Legacy Foundation said it is soliciting ideas from its media buyer, Havas’ Arnold MPG in New York, and other, undisclosed media experts to make its $50-75 million media buying operation more efficient. Chris Cullen, Legacy’s evp of marketing and communications, called his effort “an audit” due to impending funding changes. Next April, Legacy will receive the last of five $300 million payments from Big Tobacco agreed to in the Master Settlement Agreement.

Robertson Ascends at BBDO

NEW YORK—Andrew Robertson, president and CEO of Omnicom’s BBDO North America, was promoted to president of BBDO Worldwide, a new post, the agency said. The move puts Robertson, 41, closer to taking on full responsibility of the worldwide network when BBDO Worldwide chairman and CEO Allen Rosenshine retires. Robertson continues to report to Rosenshine. With the promotion, Robertson and Rosenshine will share worldwide management responsibilities. Rosenshine, 63, would not comment on his retirement plans.

Sizzler Names New Marketing Chief

LOS ANGELES— Sizzler has hired Susan Henderson-Hernandez as svp of marketing, a new post. Previously, she was vp of marketing for the International House of Pancakes. The chain hired Kovell/Fuller in May to handle its estimated $10 million account. The Culver City, Calif., shop has created three TV spots and point-of-purchase material with the new tagline, “So good, so Sizzler.” The review was conducted by Sizzler’s vp of marketing, John Butcher, who remains in that position. He will report to Henderson-Hernandez.

Newswire Roundup

Eric Salama has left the board of WPP Group, following his appointment as chairman and CEO of The Kantar Group, the WPP entity that houses the company’s research and consulting companies. Salama, 41, previously was group director of strategy and CEO of … WPP’s Berlin Cameron/Red Cell has withdrawn from the $5-10 million Timex review. The six remaining semifinalists are Modernista! in Boston, Mullen in Wenham, Mass., and the New York offices of IPG’s Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners and Margeotes|Fertitta + Partners. Pile + Co. in Boston is overseeing the process. … BCom3’s LB Works in Chicago won a review for Lexmark’s $10-15 million account, sources said, besting Fallon in New York and McKinney & Silver in Raleigh, N.C. Ocean Group in New York was the incumbent. … Home & Garden Television has narrowed its review for its $10-12 million account to seven agencies, the client said. The shops are IPG’s Fitzgerald + Co. in Atlanta; MARC USA and Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago; Doner in Southfield, Mich.; and DeVito/Verdi, Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners and IPG’s Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, all in New York, according to HGTV vice president of marketing Michael Boyd. Incumbent Lewis Communications, Birmingham, Ala., is not defending. AAR Group of New York is overseeing the process.