Burns Group Names First CEO

By Erik Oster 

Burns Group promoted chief strategy officer Joanne McKinney, naming her the agency’s first CEO.

As Burns Group’s first chief executive, McKinney will continue to oversee the agency’s strategic offering, while also focusing on current and prospective client relationships and taking responsibility for the future vision for the agency.

“Burns Group wouldn’t be as successful as it is today without Joanne’s leadership, strategic prowess and commitment to transforming our clients’ businesses,” Burns Group founder and managing partner Michael Burns. “She is undoubtedly the right person to assume this new role and we’re thrilled to see what the future holds under her direction as she transitions Burns Group into its next stage of growth.”


McKinney has served as Burns Group’s chief strategy officer for the past eight years. In 2016, she founded Burns Group’s  branding and design accelerator BGIN.Before arriving at the agency she served as interim director, integrated marketing communication, Europe for Kraft Foods. She began her career at Grey, where she went on to serve as account supervisor for P&G before leaving the agency.

“I’m honored to lead a company that has been an innovator from its inception and is solely dedicated to helping reinvent and reinvigorate brands to better succeed in today’s complex world,” McKinney said in a statement. “Our industry is experiencing tremendous change, and I believe we have a unique vision to help brands succeed through complexity. I will continue to transform our offering as we move forward and I feel enormously lucky to be surrounded by some of the smartest and most creative collaborators in the industry.”