Steve Gatfield, the chief executive of Leo Burnett, is leaving
London for Hong Kong, where he will take charge of the network’s
Asia/Pacific region from April.
The promotion is part of a series of moves that brings Jeff Fergus, a
former chief executive of London, back to the UK as chairman of
Burnetts’ 34 agencies across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Fergus
had been chairman of the Asia/Pacific area.
Fergus will take on the additional role of chairman of the London
agency, a position vacant since Richard Wheatly left the network in
At the same time, Nick Brien, the agency’s managing director, will
succeed Gatfield as chief executive while keeping his responsibilities
as managing director.
The sequence of moves was sparked by the retirement of Kerrie Rubie, the
current group president of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and Jim
Oates, his counterpart in Hong Kong, this summer. Both will continue to
work on a consultative basis for Burnetts.
Gatfield, 38, has managed Burnetts in London since 1991. He came up
through the traditional client services route, after joining the agency
He will now take on the title of managing director Asia/Pacific.
The 47-year-old Fergus is also a long-serving Burnetts man. He first
joined the agency in London as a client services trainee in 1969 and
rose within ten years to run the department. After a spell at Grandfield
Rork Collins, he returned to Burnetts and was named as chief executive
and managing director of London in 1986. He moved to Hong Kong eight
He is well-known in London, where the serious-minded Scot made a name
for himself bringing Burnetts back to an even keel after its traumatic
loss of the Austin Rover business and the international realignment of
Nestle in the mid-80s.
Brien, on the other hand, forged his career in media, first at Grey,
then Benton and Bowles and WCRS. He was part of the WCRS-owned media
start-up, BBJ Media Services, in October 1989 but moved on to join
Burnetts just over four years ago.
After three years as media director, Brien was promoted to managing
director last February.