Lord & Thomas, Chicago
Fourteen years after starting as a floor sweeper at Lord & Thomas in 1898, new-business whiz Lasker owned the company. Preaching that advertising was "salesmanship in print," he clarified client account/creative partnerships, held firmly to the 15% commission, financed some campaigns for clients, scorned research and trained many future agency leaders. Lasker drove L&T to No. 1 rank, left in 1921 to serve in Washington, returned to a faltering agency in 1923, ruthlessly revived it, built Kimberly-Clark Corp.'s Kotex and Kleenex businesses and created Lucky Strike cigarette ads aimed at women. In 1942, he sold his L&T holdings so that the shop could reopen -- in January 1943 -- carrying the name of the key executives in the agency's New York, Chicago and Los Angeles offices -- Foote, Cone & Belding.