Leo Burnett Hires Katie Newman As Its New U.S. Chief Marketing Officer

She'll focus on fusing creative with data

Leo Burnett has a new chief marketing officer. Katie Newman joins the team in the U.S. as CMO, effective immediately.

Newman has spent quite a bit of her career with Leo Burnett. She worked as an account supervisor for three years and as an account director for an additional three years, working on Hallmark Cards. Most recently Newman was CMO of the software and analytics company Ardent and CMO of marketing and tech incubator, The Abundancy.

Both Ardent and The Abundancy were recently acquired by Leo Burnett after the agency hired consultant and venture capitalist Andrew Swinand as its new North American CEO in early January. Swinand previously spent some time at Publicis Groupe’s Starcom Mediavest Group, but most recently founded and developed The Abundancy and Ardent. After working with Newman on both operations for four years, Swinand said he knew Newman would be the perfect fit for the role of U.S. CMO.

“When I think about talent, it’s power, passion and smarts. [Newman] just has been a force in terms of helping build our small entrepreneurial venture,” Swinand said. “I couldn’t imagine doing this without her because she’s been rocking it with me for four years already.”

In her role as CMO, Newman will be tasked with helping Swinand and Leo Burnett, “innovate and incubate a new model that puts data at the forefront of the creative process,” Newman said.

“It’s going to start with changing the way we operate … ‘Human Kind’ has always been our belief system. One of the big thing we are working on now is making that into our operating system. Again that requires bringing new data, tools and technology to the forefront of our creative process,” she added.

One focus for Newman in the new role will be implementing Publicis Groupe’s “Power of One” strategy in order to help make Leo Burnett be part of a more open source solution for clients. Most recently the network has leveraged this thinking to help Saatchi & Saatchi win the $400 million HSBC account from J. Walter Thompson.

Newman will also focus on fusing creative with data.

“I think for the past several years creativity and data have been at odds with one another and that doesn’t need to be the case. I think an exciting thing here in store for Leo Burnett is that you’ll see our creative product, which has already been amazing, be even better because we are investing in those tools and technology and data to understand people better, to give them what they want and respond with experiences that are really meaningful,” Newman said.

Newman will have plenty of new clients to deliver powerful creative to. Most recently Leo Burnett added Special K’s U.S. business back to its roster of clients after losing the account to J. Walter Thompson in 2015. The agency also scored global creative duties for Jim Beam and added MillerCoors’ U.S. retail business.