LBTG Shuts Office in Boston

Leo Burnett Technology Group will shutter its once high-flying Boston office as it continues to retrench in the face of dwindling technology spending.

Late last month Burnett closed its office in San Francisco. Boston will close Friday with 12 employees, four of whom will be offered jobs in Chicago, the agency said. The agency plans to move Boston’s remaining clients, Heidelberg and Microsoft, to Chicago.

The shutdown makes the once coast-to-coast LBTG’s lone outpost outside of Chicago its office in Austin, Texas, and that satellite’s future is uncertain.

LBTG in Boston just last year claimed billings of $73 million and revenue of $11 million, making it one of the city’s 10 largest agencies.

But recent client defections, notably CMGI, and the soft economy took their toll.

In Chicago, the remaining employees of LBTG were moved earlier this year from their Merchandise Mart outpost into the Leo Burnett building as the agency continues figuring out what to do with the unit.

Jeff Jones, the former Burnett account director and MarchFirst executive who took over as head of LBTG earlier this year, was not available to comment about the Boston shutdown or retrenchment plans. An agency representative said consolidation plans are ongoing, but declined further comment.

Jones assumed LBTG leadership from the unit’s founder, Sean Bisceglia, who left in March. Bisceglia had sold the unit, initially known as TFA/Leo Burnett, to the agency in 1998, seven years after starting it. The shop, originally called Total Focus Approach, was headquartered in Chicago but had an office in Boston when Burnett bought it.

Jones and LBTG president Craig Thomas were to create a new model for the high-tech, business-to-business unit. In a statement, Burnett president and CEO Brad Brinegar said LBTG plans to reorganize as “holistic and compelling service offering to current and prospective technology clients.”.