Leo’s Fizdale Retires

Rick Fizdale said his retirement is going to stick this time.

“In the end, it’s a young person’s business,” Fizdale said. “There are better qualified and more contemporary people in the building now.”

Fizdale, former Leo Burnett Worldwide CEO and current vice chairman of Bcom3 Group, an-nounced last week he will retire from the agency at the end of the year. It’s not the first time Fizdale has planned to retire.

In 1997, his plans to retire were thwarted by high profile account losses and a management coup that saw Fizdale, who was then the agency’s chairman, reclaim his title as CEO.

Fizdale set about reshaping the agency, implementing the since-discarded “mini-agency” structure. Last year, he helped guide the agency to its merger with the MacManus Group and form the Bcom3 holding unit.

Ship righted, Fizdale said he is confident he is leaving the agency in good hands.

“The integrity and thoughtfulness [Bcom3 CEO Roger Haupt] has shown is amazing, and the team he announced [to run Burnett] is well composed,” said Fizdale, who will remain vice chairman of Bcom3’s board.

Fizdale joined Burnett as a copywriter in 1969 and became chief creative officer in 1985. In 1992, he took the titles of chairman and CEO. He relinquished the latter title in 1993, then turned over the the chief creative officer role to Michael Conrad (now worldwide creative director) in 1997 when he reclaimed the CEO title.

Fizdale said he will likely keep a small office and phone line at Burnett, and has no plans to move from the Chicago area in his retirement. He said he would like to return to school.