Nick Brien, the chief executive of Leo Burnett London, is leaving the agency to take a key role in the Starcom MediaVest Group media operation in America.
Brien joins SMG, B-Com3's global media group, as the president of US corporate business development. He will report directly to SMG's chief executive, Jack Klues, overseeing new-business development and the diversification of services for Starcom and MediaVest.
His move is part of a wider shakeup at SMG. Gary Brown, the head of Starcom in Asia, is returning to the UK to take a management role across Europe, working alongside Mark Cranmer, Starcom's European chief.
Brien's promotion follows the promotion of Bob Brennan, former chief operating officer of Starcom Motive and number two to Klues, to the role of president of Leo Burnett Worldwide.
Brien, 38, will move to SMG next April, relocating to its Chicago headquarters, but initially spending time in New York focusing on MediaVest.
Brien, who joined Leo Burnett as the executive media director in 1992, started his career in 1982 in the media department of Grey London. After spells at DMB&B and WCRS, he co-founded BBJ Media Services in 1989. It grew to pounds 100 million in billings within three years.
Appointed as the managing director of Leo Burnett in 1996, Brien became the chief executive in March 1997. He was instrumental in expanding the agency's integrated marketing offerings to include the digital agency Hard Reality and the direct marketing agency Leonardo.
Leo Burnett will split Brien's UK responsibilities between its existing London management group, which includes Stephen Whyte, the managing director, Nick Bell and Mark Tutssel, the joint creative directors, Kate Howe, the deputy managing director, and Martin Jones, the chief financial officer.
Brien said: 'I'm confident that my general advertising management experience over the past five years, together with my traditional media background will serve me well in my new role.'
Klues said: 'Nick is not only ideal for the job, he will be particularly important at this stage of development for our US operations. To continue the growth we've enjoyed in the US over the past couple of years, we need to pursue not only new business, but also diversification of our offerings.'