Giles Hedger Named Worldwide Chief Strategy Officer

Earlier this year, Tom Bernardin announced Giles Hedger, previously Group Managing Director and Chief Strategy Officer at Leo Burnett London, as the new Chief Strategy Officer for Leo Burnett Worldwide. Giles has joined the global Executive Leadership Team and will lend his strategic thinking and leadership to both the global center and key markets around the globe.

Here he talks about the job, HumanKind and the lead singer of The Killers.

Q: What is your vision for the role? GH: This network has brilliant thinkers and brilliant thinking in abundance, so I'm not sure there was ever a deficit in that sense. The one thing we hadn't done, though, was assign a lead. It's a small step in some ways, but it enables big things to happen. It makes it easier to develop shared beliefs, to align on the divisive issues that plague the industry, to identify and celebrate best practice. But a CSO should never seek to aggregate or trade in improved averages. Anyone can turn a thousand sparkling subjectivities into steady corporate kilowatts. My job is to ensure that we are as imaginative at a global level as we are at our grass roots. It's about the power of local variation and making this part of our global story. That's how we tell our clients their brands should behave, and we need to adopt that behavior too.

Q: Why do you believe that HumanKind is important to our brand and to our clients' brands? GH: HumanKind is simply what we chose to call the Leo Burnett approach. We did so because we like to start and end with the people whose behavior we are trying to change; because we were the first agency to commit publicly to the notion that brands need a human purpose more than they need a positioning; because, creatively, we believed the things that brands do for people are as important as the things that brands say to people; and because, in the end, the way we chose to be judged was on our ability not to generate fame or buzz but to carve a durable place in the popular imagination. All of our shared beliefs were tethered in some way to the primacy of people, and it seemed like a natural thing to reflect this in the way we branded our methodology. But like I said before, methodology is just a means to an end.

Q: What creative person do you most admire? GH: Brandon Flowers. “Mr. Brightside” is the best song of the 21st century.


Holler Bolsters U.K. Management

Leo Burnett Group London engagement agency Holler has boosted its management lineup following a global expansion of the social and mobile practice and the appointment of James Kirkham (one of Holler’s founding partners) to Global Head of Social & Mobile for Leo Burnett Worldwide.

Dan Hocking, Operations Director, and Paolo Nieddu, Head of Planning, have been promoted to managing partners. Holler has also appointed Ben Swindell, founder of digital creative agency Blend, to the role of managing partner. Will Pyne, co-founder of Holler, and Simon Hankin, previously managing partner of Holler, will remain in supervisory roles but will also work closely with James Kirkham to guide global strategy and creative output for the business.


Susan Credle, North American CCO, Named Jury President at 2014 Cannes Lions

Susan will preside over the Promo and Activation jury at Cannes in June. Others from around our network selected to be jury members include Lisa Greenberg, SVP and Head of Art at Leo Burnett Canada on the Promo and Activation jury; Vince Lagana, Creative Director at Leo Burnett Sydney on the Radio jury; Marcelo Reis, Creative VP and Partner at Leo Burnett Tailor Made, Brazil, on the Press jury; Sompat Trisadikun, Chief Creative Officer of Leo Burnett Thailand on the Film jury; and Alisa Wolfson, SVP and Group Design Director at Leo Burnett USA on the Design jury.


Top Honors for Toronto Talent

Strategy has named Judy John and Lisa Greenberg from Leo Burnett Toronto as Canada’s top creative directors. The two moved up in the ranks of the highly regarded report card issued by the magazine – last year they were named number three and number four, respectively. Meanwhile, the Toronto office was ranked as the number two agency in Canada.


Accolades for French Duo Behind Award-Winning "Emma"

The creative team of Hadi Hassan-Helou and Jerome Gonfond took the Creatives of the Year honor as named by CB News, a French magazine dedicated to advertising and creativity. Leo Burnett Paris maintained its spot on the top-five list of Most Creative Agencies.


Creative Praise in Portugal

The Creative Club of Portugal has named the country’s top creative forces, with Luciana Cani, Executive Creative Director of Leo Burnett Lisbon, leading the pack.


Management Moves at LB Beirut

Earlier this year, the Beirut office made two critical hires in naming Nada Abi Saleh to the position of Managing Director and bringing aboard Yousef Tuqan to fill the role of Chief Innovation Officer.


Burnetting Without Borders

Leo Burnett once said, “It is apparent that the company can’t be any better or bigger than the growth of the people in it.” In that same vein, the agency created an internal mobility program called Burnetting Without Borders, a unique opportunity that allows eligible employees to pursue an opportunity within Leo Burnett outside of their home countries. Currently dozens of our people are on assignment, fulfilling business needs and developing personally through career opportunities that expose them to new assignments, diverse teams, cultures and markets.

We had the opportunity to chat with Maria Sefcikova, a 17-year veteran with Leo Burnett, who is currently living in Frankfurt, Germany. Here is her fearless and optimistic take on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Q: Maria, tell us about yourself. MS: I was born and raised in the former Czechoslovakia, which is today’s Slovakia. I grew up in a period of communism and was not free to travel the world, so it seemed like a miracle when the Iron Curtain fell and I was able to leave. Right away, I left for the United States to learn English. After one year I returned to my hometown and got my master’s degree in English and Portuguese linguistics, interpreting and translation, at Comenius University in Bratislava. However, I didn’t become the interpreter and translator I had studied to become; instead I started work at Leo Burnett Chicago immediately after getting my degree and have been with the company ever since.

Q: What have you done while at Leo Burnett? MS: I started at Leo Burnett Chicago as a research analyst working on a project called “Changing Times,” which examined how people’s values changed after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. Then I moved to account management, working on the global and national Kellogg’s business and later on the Keebler business. After I left the U.S., I came to Frankfurt to work on Philip Morris. Now I’m part of the Samsung team.

Q: What is your favorite part about working for Leo Burnett? MS: I love the people I’ve met along the way and the opportunities the agency provides.

Q: What made you pursue an opportunity with our mobility initiative? MS: I always wanted to live in different countries.

Q: What have you achieved while working across Leo Burnett offices? MS: Achievement is a big word. I hope that I made the most out of it for all parties involved.

Q: What have you learned throughout your international assignment? MS: I’ve learned that it’s a luxury to work for a company that will make it possible for you to live in different countries comfortably, that it is exciting and yet bittersweet to stop and go, and that every country has people who can make you feel at home.

Q: Any surprises along the way? MS: Many. But things become less surprising with time and experience. Positive surprises are always welcomed.

Q: Do you foresee exploring opportunities in the network outside of Frankfurt? MS: Never say never. I do feel at home in Frankfurt, but life works in mysterious ways and there are many tempting places out there.

Q: What advice would you give to people with a similar desire to work abroad? MS: Go for it. Nothing comes for free, but it’s worth it. And start a journal. The things that happen along the way are better than anything else anyone ever invented.

Interested in learning more about Burnetting Without Borders? Click here for an overview and a link to potential opportunities. As one former Leo Burnett globetrotter once said, “I have found more personal strength than I knew I had inside, and have certainly grown beyond what I thought was possible in a relatively short amount of time.


A Day in the Life of an Ad Agency Receptionist

Leo Burnett Sydney’s Susie Henry has been with the agency for nearly 30 years. Recently she was profiled in Encore, a magazine dedicated to Australia’s media and marketing landscape, and shared how to make it in ad land. Here she talks about her role and shares some pearls of wisdom.

Q: What is a typical day like? SH: Making it happen: greeting clients, making sure their meetings are booked and everyone is prepared. Mostly I try to make coming into this agency a pleasure for all who do – and that includes staff, clients and delivery boys.

Q: What's the secret to getting the most out of your job? SH: My happiness is greeting people and making them feel welcome and relaxed. If there is a secret, it’s being genuine. I enjoy what I do, and I think that shows.

Q: Often you are called upon to be the “gatekeeper.” How do you do so tactfully? SH: I am very diplomatic yet firm. I don’t like to disillusion people or be disrespectful, as you just never know when you might cross paths again.

Q: What's the secret to making this a fulfilling career and not just a stepping stone to another position in the business? SH: Again, I think you have to have a genuine interest in what you’re doing right now. This is a fulfilling career. I’ve held bigger jobs in advertising over time but not necessarily more enjoyable. I’m doing my job as long as I make it enjoyable for anyone and everyone who comes into our agency.

Q: What's the greatest challenge? SH: Greatest challenge is to make sure everything in reception flows smoothly for everyone. Working with the people here is a daily excitement that I love and I couldn't imagine life without working with them.

Q: What's the most fun part of the job? We have hot actors, voice-over guys and young people wanting to get into advertising and they are all enthusiastic and excited about advertising. The fun part of the job is that every second there is something new happening.