2002 Rating: 3 stars
In its first full year under Publicis Groupe, Leo Burnett USA has endured plenty of upheaval. That's not atypical for an agency merger, analysts say. Yet, for the once privately held and insular powerhouse, the changes have been painful and morale has swung on every win, loss and layoff. In just the final quarter, Chicago-based Burnett cut 20 staffers after the departure of President Bob Brennan and arrival of Ben Kline as chief marketing officer. Losses of Polaroid Corp., Delta Air Lines, Sara Lee Corp. and Royal Philips Electronics hurt, even as Burnett picked up the $200 million-plus Gateway business. Gateway was the biggest win for the sub-shop LB Works, which the agency absorbed Jan. 1 . With the dismantling of the business-to-business and technology-focused unit, its President Jeff Jones departed along with Chief Creative Officer Steffan Postaer.
With Chairman-CEO Linda Wolf now alone at the helm, it`s the first time she'll be judged on her own merits as a leader since being elevated three years ago. Ms. Wolf will have one of her bigger challenges this month as the U.S. Army begins its mandatory agency review and Burnett competes as a French-owned shop. Other questions remain about whether Burnett will benefit from its new alignment with marketing services sibling Frankel.