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Advo

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named Scott Harding chief executive, filling the top post some four months after his predecessor abruptly quit.

The Windsor, Conn., mailer of coupons and circulars said Harding would step in for interim CEO Bobbie Gaunt, who will return to the board as an independent member overseeing the compensation and nominating panel and rejoining the audit and governance committees. Harding, 56, co-founded Newspaper Services of America in 1991 and since then has served as the company's CEO. That company has been a unit of

Interpublic

(IPG) - Get Report

since 1995.

Gaunt took over as Advo's interim chief in June after CEO Gary Mulloy left the company without stating a reason. Mulloy became Advo's chief executive in January 1999. During his tenure, Advo's sales were relatively flat, in the $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion range.

"The board was unanimous in its selection of Scott Harding as Advo's next CEO, and we look forward to working with him to help ensure the success of Advo's strategic growth plans," said nonexecutive chairman John Mahoney. "We also welcome Bobbie back to her board committee roles as an independent director, and extend our gratitude to her for keeping Advo focused and making strong, positive decisions that will inure to the company's benefit for years to come."

On Monday, Advo rose 35 cents to $31.10.