Leo Burnett turns to Wieden for new marketing chief

CHICAGO - Leo Burnett has turned to Wieden & Kennedy's Ben Kline to fill the long-vacant post of chief marketing officer in the US.

Kline, who joins the Publicis Groupe agency in November, was director of client services at Wieden & Kennedy, based in Portland, Oregon.

Leo Burnett's former president and chief marketing officer Mary Bishop was the last person to hold the title until she retired in 2001.

"What makes Burnett interesting is that it is both timeless and timely," Kline said. "It has always known how to build brands that become a big part of our cultural experience. And the infusion of new talent that the agency has been able to attract means it will continue to do so."

Kline will work closely with Leo Burnett USA chairman and chief creative officer Cheryl Berman at the agency's Chicago headquarters, and is expected to focus on new business.

"We are thrilled to have Ben joining the agency," Berman said. "He is an ideal fit for this role, with an impeccable creative and business pedigree and a keen understanding of the industry. He has worked at some of the greatest agencies in the country on some of the most admired brands in the world."

During his six years at Wieden & Kennedy, Kline helped restore the agency's pivotal relationship with Nike when the account was split between Wieden and Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

He was also responsible for most aspects of running the headquarter's office, including new business, client management and integration of major accounts such as Nike, Coca-Cola and Miller Brewing.

In addition to his most recent role as director of client services, Kline also served as managing director and global account director.

Linda Wolf, chairman and CEO of Leo Burnett Worldwide, said: "Ben brings a fresh perspective to the agency that will complement Cheryl and the US management team. Cheryl's efforts to recruit someone of Ben's calibre in this role speak highly for Leo Burnett USA and its commitment to business development."

Before joining Wieden, Kline was a group account director at Fallon from 1995 to 1997, having begun his career after graduating from Harvard at Ogilvy & Mather New York in 1985.

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