Burnett Hires Ex-Arnold Exec

CHICAGO Former Arnold director of brand planning Graceann Bennett is joining Leo Burnett in a similar capacity, according to the agency.

Bennett, 38, fills a position being vacated by Rick Houghton-Larsen, who is being promoted to chief strategy officer at the Chicago agency. In this new post, Houghton-Larsen, 48, will partner with the Publicis Groupe agency’s chief marketing officer, Ben Kline, on honing the shop’s new-business approach. He will also work with shop CEO Tom Bernardin to integrate Burnett’s planning with sister companies such as promotions arm Arc Worldwide and media agency Starcom Worldwide.

“Graceann has the intelligence and energy to take the planning discipline to the next level at Leo Burnett,” said Houghton-Larsen in a statement. “Our clients reap the benefits of the smart, strategic thinking that results when planners, creatives and account management work together in lockstep as one unified team.”

In her new post, Bennett will oversee the agency’s planning department, as well as nurture and recruit talent and foster planning’s relationship with core agency departments. At Arnold, she worked on all the shop’s major brands, including Volkswagen, Coors, Dunlop and Boston Market.