Over 32 years, Ms. Berman was a fixture at the iconic Chicago agency, playing a role in landing more than half of the shop's current accounts and producing memorable spots for Hallmark, McDonald's and others. She was chief creative officer of Leo Burnett USA from 1997 until this January.
After being replaced as the agency's chief creative officer, Ms. Berman, 54, worked within the agency's LeoShe unit, which consults and researches on ways to target women. An agency spokeswoman said Ms. Berman wanted to focus on marketing to women in a broader way than LeoShe allowed.
In the short-term, Ms. Berman will consult for Burnett on marketing to women as she plans out how her new, independent venture will take shape. "It's time for me to build something inspirational and futuristic that I hope can actually help improve women's lives," she said in a statement.
"In addition to being one of the industry's foremost authorities on marketing effectively to women, Cheryl will always be remembered at Leo Burnett as one who held Leo's job, the one who led the U.S. agency, and led one of the world's largest creative departments, while espousing Leo's values at every turn," said Tom Bernardin, chairman-CEO of Leo Burnett Worldwide. "Her dedication, her passion, and her love for the agency and the creative process will be her legacy."