Leo Burnett SVP/GCD Calls an Uber, Leaves the Ad Industry

By Patrick Coffee 

As (not quite) predicted in August, SVP/group creative director Adam Kennedy has followed his former partner Brandon Rochon in leaving Leo Burnett Chicago.

Like Rochon, he moved out west–but while Rochon became CCO at Kastner & Partners in L.A., Kennedy has left the agency world altogether. His new position is director of brand marketing for Uber in San Francisco.

After Rochon left, sources claimed Kennedy would remain with Leo Burnett but would no longer work on the Samsung account. Given the fact that his creative partner departed under what we heard were not particularly positive circumstances, it seemed fairly obvious that Kennedy would not stay at LB for the long haul.

Rochon and Kennedy joined Leo Burnett at its short-lived Los Angeles satellite office in 2012 after running Coke Zero at Ogilvy Paris for two years and, in Kennedy’s words, helping “To make Coke Zero the hottest brand in the world!” That office, which was launched to serve Samsung, later closed and the two moved to Leo’s Chicago headquarters. W+K/CP+B vet Shannon McGlothin, who LB hired to run the shop in L.A., lasted a year before going freelance and then joining Omelet (he was recently promoted to ECD).

Prior to their time at Ogilvy, Kennedy and Rochon were senior creatives at TBWA Paris, where they both apparently went to “Learn a lot and become an amazing Art Director.”

Leo Burnett Chicago has lost a few prominent creatives in recent months, but the office has also made some hires and retained lead status on the McDonald’s account (including the client’s new all-day breakfast push). Departees include Jo Shoesmith (who will lead the newly-won Travelocity account at Campbell Ewald in L.A.), Nuno Ferreira (who joined 72andSunny to work on Target) and CCO Susan Credle, who will soon start her new job as global CCO at FCB. The biggest recent addition to Leo’s creative department is that of Gordy & Brian, who were formerly with Deutsch L.A.

Uber, like Google and Facebook before it, is actively trying to poach top talent from the agency world. Check out this listing for director of brand design, which asks for “12+ years experience in advertising” and “10+ years experience directly managing, mentoring, and building design teams.” There’s no salary listed, but we assume that it will be higher than that at any comparable agency gig. Of course, the listing also demands “strong business acumen,” which eliminates many agency creatives from contention.

Sources claim that both Kennedy and Rochon left Leo Burnett due to a disagreement with their client, Samsung. We’ve been unable to confirm details on that story, but we hear that the client and the creatives butted heads over casting decisions for an upcoming campaign.