Leo Burnett will not be seeking a replacement chief operating officer, after parent company, Publicis Groupe, made a commitment to meeting an ambitious profit margin of 15% in 2004, which will involve looking closely at the integration of companies that were part of Bcom3.
Gatfield will be available to the agency as a consultant until the end of the year, and is to continue as a director of a joint-venture agency between Dentsu, Leo Burnett and the now defunct D'Arcy, called Beacon Communications, which he helped to set up.
Gatfield is a long-term employee of Leo Burnett, first joining the agency in 1981, rising through the traditional client services route to become chief executive in 1991.
He left in 1997 for Hong Kong, where he took charge of the network's
Asia/Pacific region. He was replaced in London by Nick Brien, the agency's managing director.
In October 2000, he was made chief operating officer of the agency worldwide, a role based in Chicago. In January 2001, Gatfield assumed strategic responsibility for Leo Burnett's European operations following the departure of Jeff Fergus as group president for EMEA.
In a statement, agency chief executive Linda Wolf said: "We'd like to thank Steve for his many contributions over the years, especially for his commitment to building our international network and assistance in driving key global programs. His recent help on the integration of D'Arcy into Leo Burnett across Europe was invaluable, ensuring a smooth transition for our clients and our people. We wish Steve every success."
If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.