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Santa Monica ad agency Phelps hires Mike Jackson as its president

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The Phelps advertising agency has hired veteran marketing executive Mike Jackson as president.

Jackson, a former top General Motors advertising executive, most recently ran his own consulting firm in Detroit. But Jackson closed that office late last month to move to Los Angeles to join Phelps, a mid-sized Santa Monica agency that specializes in integrated advertising and public relations campaigns.

Jackson's responsibilities are expected to be recruiting new clients to help grow the firm, which has about 90 employees, and helping plan marketing strategies for existing clients. 

Phelps represents Panasonic, City of Hope, Panera Bread, Public Storage, Santa Monica Place, Southern California Gas Co., Los Angeles World Airports and Whole Foods Market, among other clients.

The position of president did not previously exist. However, the company's founder and chief executive, Joe Phelps, carved out the new role to bring Jackson aboard.

Los Angeles' advertising industry has been growing in recent years.

Last year, Boston-based Mullen opened an office in El Segundo after it landed the Acura car account. Last fall, one of the region's top firms, Deutsch LA, recruited a respected executive, Pete Favat, from Boston to become its chief creative officer.

"Ten years ago, a lot of East Coast clients did not want to work with a Los Angeles agency," Jackson said Tuesday. "But now, with the convergence of advertising, media, entertainment and technology, L.A. increasingly is the place to go."

Jackson has lived in Los Angeles before. He served for much of 2010 as senior vice president of sales and marketing for the L.A.-based electric car company Coda Automotive, which filed for bankruptcy last year. The 57-year-old Youngstown, Ohio, native earned his master's degree at USC's Annenberg School of Communications in 1981.

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