Burnett Takes ‘Structured’ Approach to Creative

CHICAGO After four years of experimenting with a somewhat free-flowing creative operation, Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett is implementing a more structured approach in the first major initiative under new worldwide president and U.S. chief executive Tom Bernardin.

In the new structure unveiled today, U.S. chief creative officer Cheryl Berman takes on the title of North American chairman (she was previously U.S. chairman only). Deputy chief creative officer Mark Tutssel has been given the new title of North American regional creative director and retains his title of vice chairman. The moves give Berman and Tutssel additional oversight for Burnett’s Canadian operations, in addition to the U.S.

“Cheryl and Mark will continue to be immersed in the operations and the creative department of Leo Burnett USA as we shape the future of our agency headquarters,” said Bernardin in a statement. “One of the first steps in doing so is clarifying the structure of the creative department, allowing Cheryl and Mark to be a more effective team and adding to their responsibilities.”

In addition, the agency has formed six “creative communities” under the stewardship of seven group creative heads, who will have authority over specific clients. Taking on the new titles are: Josh Denberg and Paul Hirsch, who will oversee clients such as Con-Agra, Morgan Stanley and Procter & Gamble’s Tampax and Secret brands; Jonathan Hoffman, who will oversee clients such as Nintendo, U.S. Army and P&G’s Always and Pert brands; Tim Pontarelli, overseeing Allstate, Hallmark and Disney; John Montgomery, overseeing McDonald’s; Bob Drevny, who oversees Philip Morris; and John Condon, who will have responsibility for Kellogg’s, Beck’s and Heinz, among others.

In addition, the shop has re-instituted executive creative directors, each of whom will have responsibility for a single client. That move is intended put more responsibility in the hands of more people, according to an agency representative.

Burnett’s most recent creative overhaul was in November 2000, when Berman broke up the executive creative director ranks, assigning some to distinct businesses and deeming others “ad rangers” who would float from account to account as necessary.