Latest Move Brings in Award-Winning Pair From West Coast

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, continues to mine the West Coast to beef up its creative ranks.

The Bcom3 Group flagship agency tapped red-hot creative directors Jeff Labbe and Kash Sree, naming them senior vice presidents and creative directors. The onetime partners at Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., in 1998 will again pair up, this time under Burnett USA Chairman and Chief Creative Officer Cheryl Berman and Leo Burnett USA Vice Chairman and Deputy Chief Creative Officer Mark Tutssel.

Mr. Labbe is coming from Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco, where he was creative director-art director, while Mr. Sree was a copywriter at Wieden.

High praise
"Jeff and Kash are

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arguably the No 1. creative team in world today," Mr. Tutssel told AdAge.com.

While the duo's heaviest experience has been in fashion, sports and entertainment, Mr. Tutssel wasn't ready to name any client assignments for them. "We want these guys to get ... to know our clients and our portfolio," he said.

Mr. Labbe, 37, a co-writer and art director on Fox Sports' "Beware of Things Made in October" campaign, and Mr. Sree, 41, who wrote for Nike's "Play" campaign, bring serious firepower to Burnett's creative ranks. Both already have collected a treasure trove of gold and silver at top award shows this year, putting them among the hottest creative directors around.

With next week's International Advertising Festival at Cannes looming, the agency timed its announcement to coincide with tonight's annual Cannes Prediction event, which the agency hosts and produces. Mr. Labbe has won Gold Lions at Cannes for his work for Nike.

Creative makeover
This latest move is the most dramatic in Ms. Berman's and Mr. Tutssel's makeover of the 200-person creative department, which was launched in March. Earlier this month, it tapped Chicago natives Josh Denberg and Paul Hirsch as executive vice presidents and creative directors from Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, San Francisco. After Mr. Tutssel moved to Chicago from Leo Burnett, London, in October, he made his first hire in January, tapping Stephanie Crippen, a writer from TBWA/Chiat/Day.

"It's about refreshing the department," Mr. Tutssel said. "There's a lot of talent here we're building and you always want to attract top talent to keep it fresh."

As for whether he's finished adding staff, he said, "I can't answer that question. Tomorrow's another day. Were looking to continually attract top talent."

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