Deputy Chief Creative Officer Miguel Angel Furones will succeed Mr. Conrad, effective Jan. 1, 2003. Mr. Conrad will stay on as a yet-to-be-defined consultant to the agency. The agency will abolish the post of deputy chief creative.
Planned since 2001
The agency announced the move Wednesday to staffers. While it is the first shift in senior leadership since the acqusition of Leo Burnett's parent company, Bcom3 Group, by Publicis, the company said the move had been planned since Mr. Conrad "hand-picked" Mr. Furones in 2001 to be the No. 2 worldwide creative.
"This one was always in the works with the idea we would do this at the end of 2002," Leo Burnett Worldwide Chairman-CEO Linda Wolf said, adding that there are "no more [senior executive changes] to come this year."
One of Mr. Furones first major
Creative is common ground
Mr. Conrad said creative will be the common ground in meshing the two agencies. "[D'Arcy] is also a creative agency that probably a lot of people have a hunger for a good future and leadership, and on that talent basis it will come together and there will not be a lot of problems," he said.
Within the next 48 hours, Procter & Gamble Co. is expected to make a final decision about how to reassign brand accounts now handled by D'Arcy. P&G is expected to split its D'Arcy accounts between other shops within Publicis as well as Grey Global Group. As for what role Mr. Furones will play as P&G divvies up its accounts, "we have to wait for those decisions to come," Ms. Wolf said.
Mr. Conrad in 1972 co-founded TBWA in Frankfurt, Germany, after holding copywriting and creative posts at WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather and Young & Rubicam in Franfort. His career with Burnett began in 1980 after it merged with Lurzer, Conrad, Frankfurt, the agency that Mr. Conrad co-founded in 1975. In 1986, he renamed the agency Michael Conrad & Leo Burnett and became president of Leo Burnett International. He was elevated in 1993 to group president and deputy chief creative officer of the global unit. Mr. Conrad took his current post in March 1997.
Cannes jury chairman
Mr. Conrad has chaired numerous creative awards juries, including the 1996 International Advertising Festival at Cannes.
In June 2001, Mr. Furones was named deputy chief creative officer, and began preparing to take over Mr. Conrad's worldwide role, he said. He was already regional chief creative officer of Burnett's Europe/Middle East/Africa region and responsible for several of Burnett's global clients.
A top Spanish adman
Mr. Furones is in many ways a Spanish version of Mr. Conrad. As a young creative director, Mr. Furones founded Vitruvio 30 in 1980 and merged it with Leo Burnett a decade later to form Vitruvio/Leo Burnett Madrid. As one of Spain's most respected creative leaders, he said he would still keep the title of chairman of the Madrid agency, and continue to be based there, with monthly trips to Chicago.