Strategy Chief Leaves Burnett

Ben Kline, chief strategy officer at Leo Burnett in Chicago, has exited the Publicis Groupe agency.

Kline joined Burnett as chief marketing officer in November 2003 from independent Wieden + Kennedy, where he was director of client services and led Nike’s global account during his six years at the Portland, Ore., agency.
In 2007, Kline assumed a secondary role in client development.

Kline did not return calls, and an agency rep said, “We do not comment on employee matters.”

His replacement is being sought from outside the shop.
Prior to Wieden, Kline worked at Publicis’ Fallon, Minneapolis, for three years. He started his career at WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather in New York.
Kline’s departure is the latest change at the top of Burnett’s headquarters office. In September, Susan Credle, a 24-year veteran of Omnicom’s BBDO unit in New York, joined the agency as U.S. chief creative officer.

Credle replaced Burnett’s former CCO John Condon, who left the agency earlier last year. Condon had assumed the role after longtime creative chief Cheryl Berman left the agency in 2006. Kline was initially hired to work closely with Berman, who was also Burnett USA chairman.