Geraghty in, Rossiter out as Burnett’s top producer

Vince Geraghty, Burnett’s new EVP/EP Production

With Chris Rossiter’s abrupt departure last week from Leo Burnett after 24 years at the only company he ever worked for, Vince Geraghty has assumed Rossiter’s former position as EVP/Executive Director of Production.

Well liked and respected Geraghty was promoted from SVP Content Architect of cross platform advertising.  He has been with Burnett for a dozen years and earlier had spent nearly 10 years producing at BBDO. 

Rossiter had been promoted from VP/EP Production to the top production job in 2005, succeeding Jonathan Davis, who had returned to London.  He said at the time he saw his role as allowing the production “to push the envelope, make sure work is fresh and smart and that we work nimbly and intelligently, all the while focusing on the goal of helping our clients build their business.”

Chris RossiterHis sudden exit came as a shock to everyone who knew him, saying he possessed a “living, breathing devotion to Burnett, was loyal to a fault,” and was an “incredible supporter of Chicago, always pulling for Chicago production and post.” 

His strengths also may have worked against him, according to reliable sources.  They say Rossiter had been told that “the agency wanted to make a change,” when being fired by the chief financial officer. 

The order to dismiss reportedly come from Susan Credel, Burnett’s chief creative officer, who allegedly was at odds with the production department’s long-standing and recently expanded “preferred suppliers list.”  Vendors on the list had agreed to cost-savings, although they were not guaranteed the work.

Credel felt the list was restrictive and undermined her determination to find the best talent for the job to enhance the creativity and deliver quality work, regardless of the economics involved, sources say.

Susan CredelCredle had good things to say about Geraghty. In the agency press release, she called him “a tireless champion for creativity and craft at Leo Burnett … who cares deeply for production and how it impacts and supports a creative idea. As a mentor and leader, he has the ability to inspire and encourage collaboration.”

Rossiter, the release stated, “had helped lead a transformation that merged production capabilities within Leo Burnett and Arc Worldwide and created the industry’s first internal production consultancy in his seven years in the position.”

Mike Shanahan will partner with Geraghty from an operational standpoint.  As the agency’s new SVP/Executive Director of Production Operations, he will take on additional legal and financial responsibilities.