Haines quits Leo Burnett after management clash

Bruce Haines resigned as chairman and chief executive of Leo Burnett Group on a point of principle after clashing with the networks global management team in Chicago over the role of Andrew Edwards, who has been named as his successor, Marketing Week can reveal.

Bruce%20Haines%20Leo%20Burnett%20GroupBruce Haines resigned as chairman and chief executive of Leo Burnett Group “on a point of principle” after clashing with the network’s global management team in Chicago over the role of Andrew Edwards, who has been named as his successor, Marketing Week can reveal.

Haines handed in his notice last week, as exclusively revealed by marketingweek.co.uk this week.

Edwards, who was previously European president of the group’s below-the-line network Arc, has been named chief executive of Leo Burnett Group and will be responsible for both brands in the UK. Leo Burnett London managing director Paul Lawson has been made group managing director in the new structure.

Haines, a former Institute of Practitioners in Advertising president and one of the industry’s most high-profile figures, resigned after disagreements with Leo Burnett Worldwide chairman and chief executive Tom Bernardin over the structure of the UK business.

Bernardin is understood to have felt that the management team in London was top-heavy because the Leo Burnett Group had three separate boards: Leo Burnett London, Arc London and a group board.

Some sources claim that Haines put forward a solution, that did not include Edwards, which was rejected by Bernardin. Others say that Bernardin wanted Haines to work with Edwards in a structure that would have left a question mark hanging over Lawson.

Leo Burnett Worldwide denies that Lawson’s role was ever at risk and an insider claims that Lawson – who has been running the advertising agency on a day-to-day basis – and Edwards have been seen as the future of the group in the UK for some time.

The timing of the announcement has shocked the industry because 56-year-old Haines had said he wanted this to be his last job in the business (MW April 6, 2006).

Speaking to Marketing Week, he says: “I fully intended Leo Burnett to be my last agency job but it won’t be now. It’s a great shame that I felt I had to resign on a point of principle.”

Haines joined Leo Burnett as group chief executive in April 2002 after a long career at Leagas Delaney. Edwards has been with the network for almost 20 years and ran the joint Leo Burnett/Arc operation in Australia before moving to London in 2005 as Arc’s European president. He took on responsibility for Arc London following the departure of long-serving managing Mike Spicer in March this year. It is thought that Edwards reported to Chicago as president of

Arc Europe but Haines as chairman of Arc UK and deputy chairman of the Leo Burnett Group.

Leo Burnett Worldwide began aligning the Leo Burnett and Arc brands more closely last year (MW March 30, 2006). Sources suggest the integration has not gone as smoothly in London as in other parts of the world and that Haines was “under pressure to harmonise things”. One insider says: “The two brands were structurally aligned in London, but not culturally aligned.”

Another source suggests that Edwards has been “sharpening the knives for months” and that he would have been in a strong position in any power struggle because he is particularly close to the global management team in Chicago.
“Andrew is seen as incredibly valuable in Chicago,” says one insider. “He has experience of bringing the two brands together and there was no question of him going. He also has digital experience. It was almost a case of the past versus the future.”

However, another argues that, while Edwards may have had the ear of Bernardin in Chicago, it was Haines who commanded the loyalty of the UK agency.

Edwards’ rise to prominence in London mirrors his career in Australia. He went from running Arc to being handed control of both agencies but sources claim there were fears among staff over his lack of experience in traditional above-the-line advertising agencies.

Another source close to the agency says: “He will find it very difficult to convince people in London that he has the above-the-line credentials to do this job.”

Haines becomes the third high-profile departure from a Publicis Groupe agency in London this year after Lee Daley left Saatchi & Saatchi in March and Tim Lindsay stepped down from Publicis in May. It is understood that Haines has not yet decided on his next move.

Leo Burnett Worldwide began aligning the Leo Burnett and Arc brands more closely last year (MW March 30, 2006). Sources suggest the integration has not gone as smoothly in London as in other parts of the world and that Haines was “under pressure to harmonise things”. One insider says: “The two brands were structurally aligned in London, but not culturally aligned.”

Another source suggests that Edwards has been “sharpening the knives for months” and that he would have been in a strong position in any power struggle because he is particularly close to the global management team in Chicago.
“Andrew is seen as incredibly valuable in Chicago,” says one insider. “He has experience of bringing the two brands together and there was no question of him going. He also has digital experience. It was almost a case of the past versus the future.”

However, another argues that, while Edwards may have had the ear of Bernardin in Chicago, it was Haines who commanded the loyalty of the UK agency.

Edwards’ rise to prominence in London mirrors his career in Australia. He went from running Arc to being handed control of both agencies but sources claim there were fears among staff over his lack of experience in traditional above-the-line advertising agencies.

Another source close to the agency says: “He will find it very difficult to convince people in London that he has the above-the-line credentials to do this job.”

Haines becomes the third high-profile departure from a Publicis Groupe agency in London this year after Lee Daley left Saatchi & Saatchi in March and Tim Lindsay stepped down from Publicis in May. It is understood that Haines has not yet decided on his next move.

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