Kate Jeffers appointed CEO of Leo Burnett Chicago

Kate Jeffers

Leo Burnett Chicago is welcoming a new CEO to its ranks, with Kate Jeffers set to take on the role effective May 15. Jeffers, currently serving as president and partner at Venables, Bell & Partners, brings with her over 20 years of experience in the industry.

Jeffers began her journey at Venables, Bell & Partners in San Francisco as an account director, steadily climbing the ranks to become the agency’s chief operating officer in 2019 and president in 2020. Her tenure at Venables, Bell & Partners has been marked by strategic leadership and innovative approaches to brand building.

In her new role, Jeffers will oversee Burnett’s impressive roster of clients, which includes Bank of America, Beam Suntory, WK Kellogg, Molson Coors, Nintendo, and Tillamook. She will report to Susie Nam, who was appointed CEO of Publicis Creative U.S. in December 2023.

The transition comes after Andrew Swinand, who previously held the dual role of CEO of Publicis Creative in the U.S. and Leo Burnett, left the agency to pursue other opportunities. Swinand was responsible for overseeing Leo Burnett’s operations in Chicago and Detroit. Leo Burnett has confirmed that there won’t be a CEO named for the Detroit office moving forward.

“I’ve long admired Leo Burnett for its bold creative ambition, driven by a longstanding belief that what helps people, helps business,” said Jeffers in a statement. “Few agencies have a 90-year track record of consistently innovating to build brands at mass scale, to activate audiences, and to impact culture.”


During her time at Venables, Bell & Partners, Jeffers played a key role in managing clients such as Audi of America, Chipotle, Intel, and Reebok. She also spearheaded the expansion of the agency’s experience design, production, and retail offerings. Notably, Jeffers led the launch of the agency’s AI consultancy, Braive, and facilitated multiple equity investments in AI startups.

Jeffers’ previous role won’t be filled as the agency undergoes a shift towards a “nimble structure that is right for a modern independent agency and our clients’ needs today,” according to Paul Venables, founder, and chairman.

Venables, Bell & Partners recently parted ways with its longtime client Audi in 2022, with the account transitioning to Ogilvy. However, the agency has continued to strengthen its portfolio, securing clients such as Bob Evans Farms and Girl Scouts of the USA in the past year.

The appointment of Kate Jeffers signifies an exciting new chapter for Leo Burnett, Chicago as it looks to build on its legacy of creative excellence and brand impact.

Ad Age was the first to break this story.