<b>NEWS BRIEFS</b>

GAINESVILLE, FL: The trustees of the Institute for Public Relations have elected Frank Ovaitt president and CEO. Ovaitt will take over that role when John Felton retires at the end of this year.

DALLAS: Texas Instruments is in the midst of an agency review for its US business media account. The semiconductor company expects to have the search completed by the end of this month.

NEW YORK and SAN FRANCISCO: Fleishman-Hillard has shuffled the leadership of its global tech practice. While SVP and partner Robert Hallman will continue as co-chairman in the New York office, VP Rory O'Connor will also co-chair the practice from San Francisco. Former practice chairman Michael Busselen will continue to serve as GM of the San Diego office, while former co-chairman Michael Coe will continue to serve as SVP.

SUNNYVALE, CA: PalmSource has parted ways with Ruder Finn/Switzer as its US AOR because of a conflict with new RF client Sony Electronics. Instead of replacing RF with another agency, the PDA operating-system company will work with several individual PR contractors for PR services.

NEW YORK: Jennifer Geisser has been named SVP of corporate communications at Court TV. She will report to the network's president, Art Bell.

HOUSTON: Dynegy has named Peter Wilt as VP of IR and Norelle Lundy as director of IR. The company said its IR function will now report directly to president and CEO Bruce A. Williamson.

BENTON HARBOR, MI: Barry Holt, VP of global communications for Whirlpool since July 2000, has decided to retire. No replacement has been named. Holt joined Whirlpool from ACNielson.

WASHINGTON: Michael Hotra, former director of legislation and communications for the American Tort Reform Association, has joined APCO Worldwide as a VP. Hotra will advise clients on litigation communications.

NEW YORK: MS&L has appointed Ren?e Yosco as SVP in the New York office's consumer group. She was previously director and SVP in Hill & Knowlton's marketing communications practice.

WASHINGTON: Levick Strategic Communications has hired Barbara Semedo as VP and Michael Robinson as director. Semedo spearheaded communications efforts for several major political initiatives during her years in the Clinton administration. Robinson was most recently director of investment business communications at Freddie Mac.

BOSTON: Financial Dynamics has secured three new clients: Advent International, a private equity firm; BindView, which provides policy-compliance and vulnerability-management solutions; and Outcome Sciences, which provides electronic data capture and management systems for post-marketing studies.

NEW YORK: Hill & Knowlton has appointed James Heimowitz as president and CEO of Hill & Knowlton North Asia. He will be responsible for China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea.

NEW YORK: Gail Anne Grosso has expanded her role at Edelman to become its first US creative director. She will split time between Edelman and its ad agency, Blue.

ATLANTA: The Home Depot has named Brad Shaw as SVP of corporate communications and external affairs. Shaw, assuming a newly created post, comes from Gateway, where he was SVP of corporate communications.

CHICAGO: John Hatfield has joined Golin/Harris International as an SVP. He will lead the firm's team for home-improvement retailer Lowe's Companies. Hatfield had been VP of communications for Exelon Energy Delivery, which runs utilities in Chicago and Philadelphia.

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