Execs & Accounts for March 29, 2006

Ken Kaess, the chairman and CEO of DDB Worldwide who drove a bold interactive strategy, died earlier this week of cancer. Kaess created the acclaimed digital agency Tribal DDB from DDB’s various interactive holdings back in 2000. He was 51.

Kelsey Group analyst Greg Sterling has resigned from the research firm. He plans to do some consulting and consider other opportunities. Sterling’s move continues what appears to be an exodus of top analysts from the major Internet-focused research and consulting companies. Gary Stein and Eric Peterson both left JupiterResearch in recent months, and Jim Nail departed Forrester for Cymfony.

Don Scales, who recently resigned as CEO of Agency.com, has accepted a post as chief operating officer of iCrossing. The agency’s former COO Rod Lenniger becomes executive VP of the company.

Additionally, Agency.com has acquired a presence in mainland Europe. The agency’s parent network, Omnicom, is converting the offices of its Hypervision interactive marketing firm in Brussels, Belgium to Agency.com management.

Lou Mastria, VP of interactive and emerging media at the Direct Marketing Association, will leave the group in April to accept a post with NextAction. He’ll be chief privacy officer and VP of public affairs.

NextAction also recently hired Natascha Lee, previously with Atlas, as VP of marketing communications.

Mobile marketing firm Flytxt has shuffled its executive ranks. Board member David Harper becomes executive chairman of the company. Co-founder Carsten Boers, CEO since April 2004, becomes president of Flytxt in New York. Tim Williams, formerly manager U.K. operations for Video Communications Systems, joins as VP of operations. Additionally, Pamir Gelenbe transitions internally to VP of sales and strategy; Thomas Schuster to VP of product and technology; Adish Kulkarni to VP of client services; and Tobias Behrenwaldt to VP of finance.

Omnicom’s mobile agency unit, ipsh!, hired Shabnum Norling as managing director of its San Francisco operation. Norling was most recently with CMP Media as senior account director for the West Coast, and she previously worked for Beyond Interactive.

e-Dialog named Peter Derow and Raymond Butkus to its board. Derow has been president and CEO of Institutional Investor, chairman and president of Newsweek, director of The Washington Post Company and president of CBS Publishing Group. Butkus was president of the Donnelley Group and president and COO of Naviant Marketing Solutions. He also did stints with IntelliQuest and AT&T.

Heavybag Media hired Geoff Brenna as marketing director, a new post. He joins from VH1, where he set up cable affiliate marketing programs for the Viacom network.

RealNetworks tapped StrongMail to handle its marketing and transactional email communications.

The University of Texas’ M. D. Anderson Cancer Center tapped Epsilon to design and manage its direct mail fundraising program. The assignment includes creative, media and production services, plus analysis and strategic planning.

Adscape Media, an in-game advertising firm, hired Frank Babbitt as VP of sales and Eva Woo as VP of marketing. Babbitt was VP of business development at TRUSTe. Woo was director of technology for LeapFrog Enterprises.

FR Lewis Financial Services made online marketing firm Dalai Group its agency of record. The client offers affinity credit card consulting services.

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