Rich Stoddart named CEO of Leo Burnett Worldwide

Rich Stoddart

As of Feb. 1, Rich Stoddart will become new Chief Executive Officer of Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett Worldwide, a one billion euro company.

Stoddart, 52, CEO / Leo Burnett North America, succeeds Tom Bernardin, 62, who has been chairman and CEO of Leo Burnett Worldwide since 2004. Bernardin will remain as chairman through June 2017. Stoddart will continue to oversee the North American business, at least for the foreseeable future.

Stoddart will report directly to Paris-based Arthur Sadoun, CEO of the newly formed Publicis Communications as a new solutions hub. 

All global creative networks are now united under Sadoun’s leadership. Its vision is to become the indispensable creative partner of its clients in their own transformation

Sadoun says that he and Publicis chief Maurice Levy “are confident that Rich is the best person to incarnate Leo Burnett on this new journey and lead the teams to great successes for our clients and our agencies.”

Stoddart said his goal in his new role will be to drive results for clients, make sure the agency has the talent to do so, and make certain the agency attracts new talent and growth as the industry evolves.

Bernardin, who joined Leo Burnett Worldwide as CEO in 2004, hired Stoddart the following year to run Leo Burnett Chicago.  Under his leadership, Burnett North America has enjoyed considerable growth, client acquisition, strong integration and collaboration across business units Arc, Lapiz and Rokkan.  

Bernardin who has been the agency’s longest serving chairman and CEO of Leo Burnett Worldwide since Leo Burnett himself, calls Stoddart “an incredibly talented business leader, a tremendous champion for creativity and talent and my obvious successor.

“After 40 years in the business,” he says, this is a perfect time to pass the reins to Rich.”

Publicis Worldwide and Sadoun were just recognized in Ad Age’s 2016 Agency A-List honors; Sadoun as the first Executive of the Year from outside the US.