*Judith Donovan Sells JDA to Staff

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NEW ORLEANS -- Judith Donovan, one of the UK's leading direct marketers, has sold her Yorkshire-based agency, JDA, to a management team headed by managing director Carl Hopkins, who has been with the agency for 15 years.

In New Orleans to attend the annual DMA conference, Donovan said she would stay with the agency until Christmas, when her two-year term as chairwoman of the British DMA ends.

"It's the age thing," said Donovan, who is 49, in explaining her decision to sell an agency that has won a raft of British and European DM prizes. "Most of our clients are in their 20s now, and they are more comfortable dealing with people in their 30s."

Hopkins has been with JDA since he left college and "has helped us win a lot of prizes as a kind of unidentified talent." She declined to reveal a purchase price but said it was "not enough" for her and "too much" for the buyers.

Donovan is looking to build a new international career as a speaker and consultant -- "I love to make people laugh," she said -- and to work for various British government commissions "in order to put something back."

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