Leo Burnett Names Ford Exec President

CHICAGO Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett has named Ford marketing communications manager Rich Stoddart as its new U.S. president, a vacant post.

Stoddart, 41, who began his marketing career at Burnett, will start at the shop in mid-January, reporting to U.S. CEO and worldwide president Tom Bernardin, according to a representative of the Chicago-based agency.

“I’m an agency guy at heart. Agencies are where I grew up, and where my best work remains to be done,” Stoddart said in a statement. “And the fact is, there’s no other agency in the world that I would want to go to other than Leo Burnett.”

At Ford, Stoddart has been responsible for developing and implementing all consumer marketing strategies supporting Ford brand car, truck and sport utility vehicles.

It was not immediately known if Ford would replace Stoddart.

In addition to Stoddart, the shop promoted Tom Dudreck, who was most recently director of account management, to chief operating officer. Dudreck, 50, will continue to serve as worldwide account head on the agency’s Philip Morris business.

Burnett’s U.S. headquarters has nearly $3.5 billion in billings, according to sources. Its client roster includes Kellogg’s, Procter & Gamble, Philip Morris and Nintendo.

Stoddart joined Ford in May 2001, after working as director of account management for Fallon Worldwide in Minneapolis.

Previously, he was vice president and account director on the McDonald’s account at Burnett.