School Reports 2011: Leo Burnett

Leo Burnett's London operation emerged as one of the most-awarded UK agencies of the year after work from 2009 and early 2010 impressed the juries.

Recent Leo Burnett work: Shelter
Recent Leo Burnett work: Shelter

Score: 6

Agency fact file: Leo Burnett
Type of agency Integrated
Company ownership Publicis Groupe
Key personnel Andrew Edwards chairman and group CEO
  Paul Lawson group MD and CEO, Leo Burnett London
  Justin Tindall group executive creative director
  Giles Hedger group chief strategy officer
  Marc Giusti group chief digital officer
The Nielsen Company billings 2010 £232m
The Nielsen Company billings 2009 £189m
Declared income £38m (2009)
Total accounts at year end 21
Accounts won 3 (biggest: Lindt)
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff 300 (-6%)

Highlights included the agency's McDonald's work, which won at Creative Circle and Cannes, and "House of Cards" for Shelter, which took gold at the Campaign Big Awards.

2010 also started well in new-business terms, with Leo Burnett landing the UK Chrysler account in March without a pitch. It then added more business from Procter & Gamble in the shape of Flash and then, in November, scooped the £5 million Lindt account.

However, there was a downside to Leo Burnett's creative success when the executive creative director Jonathan Burley was poached by CHI & Partners. His departure was a setback to a close-knit management team and it took most of the year for the agency to find a replacement. It eventually filled the void with The Red Brick Road's creative partner Justin Tindall in November.

Tindall's arrival completes a strong senior line-up that looks set to remain in place for the foreseeable future following the promotion in early 2011 of the group managing director, Paul Lawson, to the additional role of chief executive of the London agency. The group chief executive, Andrew Edwards, also added the role of chairman to his existing duties, while the group chief strategic officer, Giles Hedger, and the group chief digital officer, Marc Giusti, remain in place.

With this team bedded in and a new emphasis on expanding the group through digital acquisitions such as Holler (made in February 2011), Leo Burnett looks set fair for growth. All eyes will be on Tindall and his department to see if they can maintain high creative standards following Burley's departure.

Score last year: 7

How Leo Burnett rates itself: 7

"We maintained our presence in the new-business league for the fourth year running; we bedded in the new consolidated Kellogg business with strong new work for Corn Flakes; we won Best Integrated Idea at the Big Awards; a good showing with Shelter at Cannes; the McDonald's work maintained its high quality; we won an IPA Effectiveness silver for ten years of Think! advertising. And we found time to hire a fantastic new ECD."

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