LEO BURNETT NAMES JOHN CONDON CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER

Cheryl Berman Continues as Chairman

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Leo Burnett USA, as expected, has tapped agency veteran John Condon as chief creative officer.
John Condon

Mr. Condon, 44, succeeds longtime Burnett creative leader Cheryl Berman effective March 2006, the agency said in a release. The move was first reported by Advertising Age Nov. 14.

Ms. Berman, 53, will continue in her role as chairman of Leo Burnett USA, reporting to agency President Rich Stoddart. She will continue to advise on clients with which she has close ties, such as McDonald’s, Walt Disney Co., Hallmark and Coca-Cola Co. She will also help on some new business pitches and lead an undisclosed “new endeavor” within Burnett.

Mr. Condon currently is exec VP-group creative head on the Kellogg Co. account, a post he’s held since 2003. He also leads on the Beck’s beer business and Ad Council’s AIDS awareness campaign. Over the course of his 19 years at Burnett he worked on brands including McDonald’s, Reebok, Fila, Nintendo, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.

A native of the Chicago area, Mr. Condon is regarded as a talented creative who’s shown a knack for nurturing younger creatives. He’s also said to be good with clients. In his new post he’ll be tasked with overseeing the agency’s 200-person creative department and will report to Mr. Stoddart.

“He’s a person who can get the best work out of our talent and our clients,” Mr. Stoddart said. “Key to his success will be his innate talent in collaborating with entities like Starcom and Arc to arrive at media-neutral ideas that win big in the marketplace.”

One of Mr. Condon’s challenges will be to change the image of Burnett’s creative; fairly or not, the Publicis Groupe agency is more associated with traditional advertising than breakthrough ideas.

The appointment of Mr. Condon ends a nearly year-long external and internal search for a new creative leader. Burnett had been hoping to attract a big-name outsider to help boost the agency’s image. But that didn’t pan out, according to one executive, because of fears that Ms. Berman’s continued presence could create an awkward situation for anyone coming in from the outside.

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