Burnett passed over its entire team of Chicago-based executive creative directors with the intention of becoming an awards juggernaut like the office Mr. Tutssel led in the U.K.
Michael Conrad, Burnett's worldwide creative chief, was said to have led the decision to bring in Mr. Tutssel, who will report to U.S. Chief Creative Officer Cheryl Berman.
Mr. Tutssel said he'll focus on beefing up creative: "There are lots of great ideas
The move couldn't come at a more critical time. After a stellar year in 2000, Burnett this year has suffered a drought of new business. Mr. Tutssel said the London office experienced similar woes four years ago, but has since emerged one of the most lauded creative agencies, picking up a slew of awards, including victories at Cannes.
"We were just average," Mr. Tutssel said. "All we did was get people to focus on the product."
He said the shift was unrelated to Burnett's stalled initial public offering.
"We can't compete on the same scale as WPP or other holding companies, but we can compete on quality," he said.
Some of the clients he will deal with early on are Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Procter & Gamble Co. and Kellogg's Co.