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Samsung Electronics has signed up horse-riding gold medallist Zara Phillips as its UK ambassador for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Phillips will help leverage Samsung’s sponsorship of the Games through activity including marketing, advertising, PR and social media.

Omnicom Media Group has promoted Ella d’Amato to the role of managing director of its Drum division. Her appointment follows Mark Eaves’ departure to launch the start-up Gravity Road with Mark Boyd, the head of content at Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

WCRS&Co has parted company with its creative directors Yan Elliott and Luke Williamson. The pair are leaving the agency without a job to go to, in what WCRS&Co is describing as an “amicable split”.

Google has hired Lucas Watson, digital marketing executive at Procter & Gamble, as vice-president, sales and marketing for YouTube and video. The appointment marks a coup for Google, as Watson is rated P&G’s top digital executive.

Virgin Holidays has appointed Sam Otter, the head of direct marketing at O2, as head of loyalty and customer insight. Joining on 20 June, Otter will report directly to Andrew Shelton, marketing director at Virgin Holidays. She will be responsible for growing the holiday operator’s retention strategy, in line with consumer and market trends

Howard Brown, the Halifax employee who enjoyed fame in DLKW’s singing and dancing ads over the past decade, has left the bank, supposedly after being told he would not be appearing in any future advertising.

ITV branded entertainment and digital sales director Gary Knight is to take the newly created role of commercial content director. His remit will include work with the newly formed client activation team. He will report to Simon Daglish director of multiplatform and partnerships.

HSBC Global Research

The brokerage appointed Andre Loes as chief Latin America economist, based in Brazil.

HSBC PRIVATE BANK

The unit of HSBC Holdings PLC appointed Russell Prior as head of Philanthropy, with effect from July 4.

BNP PARIBAS CORPORATE AND INVESTMENT BANKING

The unit of BNP Paribas appointed Torsten Murke as deputy country head for Germany and country head of Investment Banking for Germany. Torsten will also be a member of BNP Paribas Germany Branch Management.

RENAISSANCE CAPITAL GROUP

The investment bank appointed Ivan Tchakarov as chief economist for Russia & CIS (the Commonwealth of Independent States), and Natalia Suseeva as analyst, Economics Research.

LEGAL & GENERAL INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT

The wholly-owned unit of Legal & General PLC said it appointed Suresh Sadasivan as the new head of Asian Equities and he would replace David Riddle.

BLUEFIN CORPORATE CONSULTING

The advisory firm, a unit of AXA UK, said it appointed Stephanie Valles as business development consultant.

EC HARRIS

The asset consultancy firm appointed Isabel Boira-Segarra to lead the European Renewables team.

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