Bruce Haines, the group chief executive of the Leo Burnett Group, dramatically quit on Friday last week after a dispute with Tom Bernardin, the Leo Burnett Worldwide chairman and chief executive.
Sources at the agency say Haines resigned because he could not agree with Bernardin over the line-up of the senior UK management team.
Haines has been working with network chiefs on a plan to align Leo Burnett more closely with its sister agency Arc. The dispute arose over Haines' proposed group management structure, consisting of a group chief executive and a group managing director.
The group's management team consisted of Andrew Edwards, the managing director of Arc, and Paul Lawson, the managing director of Leo Burnett, as well as Haines.
Bernardin is understood to have insisted that Edwards, who has worked within the group for more than 20 years, should have one of the jobs. Haines, who is understood to have proposed a line-up consisting of himself and Lawson, resigned as a result.
Edwards, a relative unknown in the UK, takes over as the group chief executive, while Lawson will become the group managing director.
Bernardin said: "Bruce and I have agreed to differ on some important issues and I have, therefore, accepted his resignation."
Haines blamed an inability to "reach an agreement with Tom Bernardin over key issues" on the restructuring of the agency.
Edwards said: "The disagreement was over how long the realignment of the agencies was taking to sort out."
Edwards already has experience of running a joint Leo Burnett/Arc operation after running the agencies' offices in Sydney. He moved back to London in 2005, when he became the EMEA president for Arc Worldwide. He was made the London managing director in March this year.
- Perspective, page 21.