Leo Burnett Appoints Rich Stoddart as Global CEO

By Erik Oster 

In what may be seen as a consolidation of leadership following the departure of chief creative officer Susan Credle last June, Leo Burnett Worldwide promoted North American CEO Rich Stoddart to the role of global CEO, Adweek reports. Stoddart will succeed Tom Bernardin in the role, effective February 1, while also retaining his role as North American CEO. Bernardin, meanwhile, will remain global chairman through June 2017. 

The move follows  a major reorganization in December at Publicis Groupe which saw its creative resources brought under an umbrella entity called Publicis Communications, helmed by Publicis Worldwide CEO CEO Arthur Sadoun and Leo Burnett global CCO Mark Tutssel.

Bernardin appointed Stoddart as North American CEO last year, following nearly eleven years serving as North American president, a position Bernardin appointed Stoddart to one year into his run as global CEO. Stoddart had previously served as vice president, account director from 1985-1996, before leaving to become director of account management at Fallon and then director of marketing communications at Ford Motor Company.

A 40-year industry veteran, Bernardin said in a statement that it was “the perfect time to pass the reins.”

We want to make sure that this brand and its unique culture are stronger than ever as we pursue our ultimate goal — to be the indispensable creative partner to our clients,” added Sadoun. “Maurice Lévy and I are both confident that Rich is the best person to incarnate Leo Burnett on this new journey and lead the teams to great successes for our clients and our agencies.”