Leo Burnett Names Andrew Swinand as North American CEO, Hires 60 of His Employees

By Erik Oster Comment

Leo Burnett has named Andrew Swinand as its North American CEO, effective as of today, following the promotion of Rich Stoddart to Leo Burnett global CEO nearly a year ago.

Stoddart formerly served dual roles as both global and North American CEO, but will now focus on the former role with the arrival of Swinand. Swinand will work closely with Leo Burnett North America CCO Judy JohnLeo Burnett CCO and Publicis creative chairman Mark Tutssel and Stoddart, who will ensure a smooth transition, while reporting to Publicis North America CEO Andrew Bruce.

Leo Burnett also acquired Swinand’s analytics software maker, Ardent IO and startup incubator The Abundancy. According to an internal memo from Publicis Worldwide CEO Arthur Sadoun, “sixty experts” from Ardent IO and The Abundancy will join the team at Leo Burnett Chicago later this month. “The new capabilities and talent we are adding will infuse Leo Burnett with deep data driven insights and predictive analytics which, combined with our world class creative, will enable the network to evolve HumanKind to be even more powerful and relevant,” he added. 

“The challenge every brand faces is to get chosen. Thanks to our technology, it’s possible to predict what people want so that brands can respond with experiences that are truly meaningful,” Swinand said in a statement. “By combining our data-driven insights with Leo Burnett’s award-winning creative capabilities, we will make Leo Burnett’s HumanKind approach more powerful than ever before in helping our clients.”

In addition to founding Ardent IO and The Abundancy, Swinand has also launched Transparent Media Partners in 2015 and Frequency540 in 2011. Beginning in 2000, he spent nearly eleven years as president of Starcom MediaVest Group, following three and a half years in brand management for Procter & Gamble and two and a half years as an account supervisor for BBDO.

According to Sadoun, Publicis wants to strengthen the Leo Burnett organization after losing McDonald’s to Omnicom last year. Sadoun also told AdAge that the network plans to continue focusing on its relationship with General Motors no matter how the GMC review turns out. LB remains Buick’s AOR after parting with Detroit chief creative officer Steve Chavez, who had run all global GM work. According to our sources, an unnamed DigitasLBi executive has been running that pitch in Chavez’s absence.

In the internal statement, Sadoun said, “Andrew is a digital innovator, creating modern tools, talent and capabilities for today’s marketplace and I truly believe in his ability to drive this transformation in North America for one of our biggest operations.”

Here’s that statement in its entirety:

Bonjour,

First of all it’s not too late, let me wish a very happy new year to you and your family.

I have some important news to share with you concerning one of our main creative networks, Leo Burnett.

I’m very pleased to let you know that we have tapped industry leader and innovator Andrew Swinand to join Leo Burnett as North American CEO.

Andrew is a truly respected and thoughtful leader and a familiar face to many of us within Publicis Groupe. He was our client on Secret at P&G and later led their first venture into e-commerce, before becoming president of Starcom MediaVest Group. Andrew is a digital innovator, creating modern tools, talent and capabilities for today’s marketplace and I truly believe in his ability to drive this transformation in North America for one of our biggest operations.

Andrew will report to Andrew Bruce, CEO Publicis Communications North America and partner with Judy John, CCO Leo Burnett North America. He will also work very closely with Rich Stoddart, who as well as ensuring a smooth transition in North America, will focus on his global president role for Leo Burnett, supported by Mark Tutssel, CCO Leo Burnett & Creative Chairman Publicis Communications.

One of Publicis Communication’s key goals is to reinforce our creative brands. We’re demonstrating this commitment to Leo Burnett, as coming with Andrew are two acquisitions that we are making to further strengthen and transform the network: The Abundancy and Ardent. Ardent provides proprietary technology that uses search to understand behaviour and predict consumer intent. The Abundancy applies these learnings to inform custom content. Together, the companies bring with them sixty experts who will join the teams at the Leo Burnett Chicago offices later this month.

We’re making this move recognizing that we live in a time in which, thanks to technology, we can now predict what people want so brands can respond with relevant, value-adding experiences. The new capabilities and talent we are adding will infuse Leo Burnett with deep data driven insights and predictive analytics which, combined with our world class creative, will enable the network to evolve HumanKind to be even more powerful and relevant.

As you know, throughout 2016 we worked to transform and future-proof Leo Burnett. We have made progress and achieved good results like the recent wins of Millers Coors and the global Jim Beam business, along with record performances at the Cannes Lions and being named agency of the year at the Clio Awards. But of course there is still work to be done, and with these additions to the team we’re equipping the network with all of the tools and talent it needs to accelerate on this dynamic.

Voilà, I’m convinced that with the support of Andrew Bruce and through a great partnership with Rich, Andrew will bring to Leo Burnett North America the kind of competitive advantage the agency needs to reinforce its leadership on the market and deliver strong growth.

I know you’ll all join me in welcoming Andrew and the teams from The Abundancy and Ardent and in supporting them as we work together to make 2017 a success for Leo Burnett North America and Publicis Communications as a whole.

Amitiés,
Arthur

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