Leo Burnett Chicago Hires Kate Jeffers as CEO

By Kyle O'Brien 

Leo Burnett Chicago has hired Kate Jeffers as chief executive officer. Jeffers, who starts May 15, will oversee Leo Burnett’s flagship Chicago office and operations, as well as the agency’s brand partnerships including Bank of America, Beam Suntory, Kellogg’s, Molson Coors, Nintendo and Tillamook. She will report to Publicis Groupe Creative U.S. CEO Susie Nam.

“I’ve long admired Leo Burnett for its bold creative ambition, driven by a long-standing belief that what helps people, helps business,” said Jeffers in a statement. “Few agencies have a 90-year track record of consistently innovating to build brands at mass scale, to activate audiences, and to impact culture.”

Jeffers joins Leo Burnett after two decades at Venables Bell + Partners (VB+P), an independent creative agency known for its work on brands including Audi, Chipotle, Intel, Reebok and REI. She most recently served as partner and president, overseeing the agency’s long-term vision and day-to-day operations.


While at VB+P, Jeffers helped lead the agency to significant growth via new business and the diversification of its offering, with capabilities in experience design, integrated production, retail, and issue/advocacy marketing. She was also pivotal to the agency’s early adoption of AI, leading the launch of its AI consultancy, Braive, as well as multiple equity investments in AI start-ups.

“Kate comes to Leo Burnett with an impressive track record for building an agency culture that inspires creativity, nurtures innovation and delivers for today’s marketers,” said Nam. “When you combine that with Leo Burnett’s consumer acumen, range and expertise in building brands for the masses, it puts Leo Burnett on a trajectory to assert its right to lead the industry creatively.”

Prior to VB+P, Jeffers spent time at Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles and Paris, TBWA/Chiat/Day and Goodby Silverstein & Partners, helping launching both the Apple iPod and Toyota Prius.

“Kate is a creative driven leader who exemplifies the values of a Burnetter,” said Britt Nolan, chief creative officer, Leo Burnett Chicago. “She is a natural fit to accelerate how we continue to put people first, lead in the market, and build around delivering inspired work and making an impact for our clients.”

Andrew Swinand recently departed Leo Burnett, where he served as CEO of the agency as well as Publicis Creative U.S.