Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis Communications, announced an important leadership transition at Leo Burnett Worldwide.
Effective February 1, 2016, Rich Stoddart, 52, will take over as CEO of Leo Burnett Worldwide. Rich’s current role is CEO of Leo Burnett North America and he will continue in that post. Tom Bernardin, 62, currently Chairman and CEO, will remain Chairman through June 2017. Both Bernardin and Stoddart also serve on the Publicis Communications ComEx and Stoddart is one of the U.S. country leads for the new organization led by Sadoun.
“Leo Burnett is a leading force within Publicis Communications. We want to make sure that this brand and its unique culture are stronger than ever as we pursue our ultimate goal — to be the indispensable creative partner to our clients,” Sadoun said. “Maurice Lévy and I are both confident that Rich is the best person to incarnate Leo Burnett on this new journey and lead the teams to great successes for our clients and our agencies. And we know we can count on Tom and his wealth of experience to actively help the Publicis Communications ComEx achieve its objectives.”
Bernardin joined Leo Burnett Worldwide as CEO in 2004 and the following year hired Stoddart back to the agency to run Leo Burnett Chicago. Under Stoddart’s leadership, Leo Burnett North America has seen significant growth and client acquisition, strong integration and collaboration across business units including Arc, Lapiz and Rokkan while delivering some of the most effective and integrated campaigns for clients including Allstate, GM, Kellogg’s, McDonald’s, P&G and Samsung.
“Rich Stoddart is an incredibly talented business leader, a tremendous champion for creativity and talent and my obvious successor,” said Bernardin. “I’m very proud, after 11 years, to have been the longest serving Chairman and CEO of Leo Burnett Worldwide since Leo Burnett the man. After 40 years in the business, it is the perfect time to pass the reins to Rich. As Chairman of Leo Burnett, I will assist both Rich and Arthur in the continued success of Leo Burnett and of the new Publicis Communications.”
“I’m so energized by the opportunity to lead this global company and the amazing talent within it during a time of unprecedented change, opportunity and reinvention,” Stoddart said. “In partnership with Arthur and Tom, we will deliver upon the promise and potential of Leo Burnett – ‘the best in the world bar none.’ To me this means the very best talent, the very best work and the very best business results for our clients.”
Stoddart will remain based in Chicago, the global headquarters of Leo Burnett.