Former Leo Burnett President Len Matthews Dies at 87

Agency Grew Billings to $600 Million and Created Jolly Green Giant, Pillsbury Doughboy, Tony the Tiger During His Tenure

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Leonard S. Matthews, former president of Leo Burnett Worldwide, died in San Diego last week of pneumonia. He was 87 years old.

Mr. Matthews, known as Len, was a longtime advertising veteran who spent 28 years at Leo Burnett from 1948 to 1975, rising from marketing analyst to president and growing the company to $600 million in billings. The Jolly Green Giant, the Pillsbury Doughboy and Tony the Tiger came into existence during those golden years at the agency.

Leonard S. Matthews
Leonard S. Matthews
In 1975, Mr. Matthews was named assistant secretary of commerce under then-President Gerald Ford. Mr. Matthews returned to advertising as president of Young & Rubicam, New York, in 1977 and two years later became president of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, a position he held until 1989. He was inducted in the American Advertising Federation's Advertising Hall of Fame in 1998.

In addition to his leadership roles at Burnett, Young & Rubicam and the 4A's, Mr. Matthews was a director of the Ad Council, the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Consumer Research Institute. He served on the boards of a Chicago-area Boys Club, the Chicago Educational Television Association and the Wheatridge Foundation.

Mr. Matthews is survived by his wife, Dorothy; daughter, Nancy Urlich; son and daughter-in-law Jim and Sheila Matthews; son and daughter-in-law Douglas and Ana Matthews; and 10 grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on June 20 at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Encinitas, Calif.

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