Fudge to stand down from Young & Rubicam

LONDON - Ann Fudge is retiring as Young & Rubicam's worldwide boss after less than three years in the job.

Her departure ends a controversial term of office by the former Kraft Foods senior executive, during which time the network lost major slices of business including Burger King, Sony and Jaguar.

The company announced this week that Fudge was stepping down as chairman and chief executive of Y&R Brands, which also includes the PR agency Burson-Marsteller, the branding agency Landor Associates and the direct marketing specialist Wunderman.

She intends to devote more time to non-profit activities. No immediate successor is planned.

Fudge was a surprise appointment when she succeeded Mike Dolan in the job in May 2003 to become the highest-ranking African-American woman in the US ad industry.

However, she had never worked in advertising before and the group's performance under her charge was generally regarded by industry onlookers as underwhelming.

In April last year, she relinquished her leadership of the Y&R network which is now run by Hamish McLennan, the former chairman and chief executive of Y&R Brands in Australia and New Zealand. He has been looking to kick-start the US operation's less than exciting creative and new-business performance and get its new business machine rolling again.

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