Leo Again Looks West for Talent

With the hire of its second high-profile outsider creative team in less than a month, Leo Burnett again diverted from its long-standing tactic of developing its own talent and leadership.

“Agencies change over time,” said deputy chief creative Mark Tutssel, brought in from Burnett’s London office last November as an agent of change.

The shop last week hired CD Jeff Labbé from TBWA\Chiat\Day in San Francisco and copywriter Kash Sree from Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore., as svps and creative directors. They will report to Tutssel and chief creative Cheryl Ber man, and work on a variety of clients.

“They can kind of run the creative portfolio, and work across it,” Tutssel said.

In late May, Burnett hired Josh Denberg and Paul Hirsch, a creative team from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco.

Labbé and Sree had briefly worked as partners on the Nike account at Wieden in 1998. “We’ve been in situations before where we discussed working to gether, but we were looking for the right opportunity,” Labbé said.

The opportunity in cluded a blue-chip client roster and Tutssel’s enthusiasm for the work, Sree said. “I want to learn from him, and I think we’re going to learn tons,” he said.

While saying he was committed to nurturing talent from within, Tutssel said he will continue to scout for talent outside the agency. Sources suggest Tutssel’s reputation provides a lure to outside talent the agency previously lacked.

“This agency has a huge appetite for advertising,” Tutssel said. “The more passionate people we bring in, the better we’ll be.”