Breakfast Briefing: Five things to know Friday

Penn to be CEO of MDC; Instagram's comms person leaves; two other Facebook execs depart; VW CEO apologizes for near Nazi reference; Brands react to college cheating scandal.

It’s official; Mark Penn of Stagwell Group will become CEO of MDC. The Wall Street Journal reports that Penn’s company, the Stagwell Group, reached an agreement to invest in ad-holding company MDC Partners Inc. for $100 million. As part of the deal Penn becomes CEO of MDC and joins the board.

Instagram's top comms person is leaving the company. Axios is reporting that Kristina Schake is quitting the Facebook service. She is temporarily acting as Michelle Obama's comms director while Caroline Adler Morales is on maternity leave. Schake had the job once before during the Obama administration.

As Facebook pivots to privacy, two other leading executives are leaving. Chief product officer Chris Cox, considered part of Mark Zuckerberg’s inner circle, is going along with Chris Daniels, the head of WhatsApp. The departures come in the wake of a recently announced plan to combine Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger into one privacy-focused service. (New York Times)

VW CEO Herbert Diess has apologized for using a phrase to similar a Nazi slogan. During an internal management presentation about operating margins Diess used the phrase ‘Ebit macht frei’ which is very similar to the phrase "Arbeit macht frei," or "Work sets you free." The latter wording was featured prominently on Nazi concentration camp signage. (Bloomberg) VW has issues in the U.S. as well, after the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Thursday it is charging Volkswagen AG, two of its units, and former Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn with defrauding U.S. bond investors. (Marketwatch )

Brands are reacting to the college cheating scandal. Olivia Jade Giannulli is a popular influencer, a USC student, and daughter of actresses Lori Loughlin (and designer Mossimo Giannulli,) one of many people charged recently with bribing officials to get her child into college. Thursday, both Sephora and TRESemmé cut ties with Giannulli in the wake of the scandal. (CBS). Also, Hewlett Packard killed an ad featuring Loughlin and Giannulli and on Thursday, the Hallmark Channel announced it has stopped working with Loughlin. According to CNN, Giannulli has more than 1.4 million followers on Instagram and 1.9 million subscribers on YouTube.

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