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Leo Burnett Chicago President Emma Montgomery leaves Publicis Groupe shop

Ad Age 06 Dec 2019 08:18

Another highly regarded executive is leaving Leo Burnett Chicago. Emma Montgomery, the office’s president and chief strategy officer resigned this week, Ad Age has learned. Her departure comes about four months after Leo Burnett U.S. Chief Creative Officer Britt Nolan left to become chief creative for DDB North America. 

Montgomery and Nolan were named co-presidents of Leo Burnett’s Windy City office in January. Montgomery had the president title to herself since Nolan’s departure. The agency is searching for a new president, and Leo Burnett Group CEO Andrew Swinand will fill the role in the interim, according to a spokeswoman. Montgomery did not reply to an email for comment, including about where she is heading next. 

“We are so thankful for Emma’s leadership and contributions and wish her every success in her next adventure,” Publicis Groupe-owned Leo Burnett said in a statement.

The shop this week filled her chief strategy role by promoting Aki Spicer into the job immediately. He was previously executive VP and global strategy lead. Spicer joined Leo Burnett in late 2018 after serving as chief strategy officer at TBWA/Chiat/Day New York. “Aki is a rare thinker who’s steeped in the classical aspects of the discipline, but with the edge to help architect our agency for the future of the industry,” Swinand said in a statement.

Montgomery, a native of Australia, was named an Ad Age “Woman to Watch” in 2018. She has logged time at Leo Burnett Sydney and took over as chief strategy officer of the agency's flagship Chicago office in April of 2017. She was charged with implementing The Core, an approach Swinnand launched in early 2017 aimed at uniting the agency's data, analytics, research, CRM and search technology capabilities with the goal of creating more personalized content for clients. 

Montgomery’s exit continues a wave of personnel changes sweeping the Chicago agency community. The upheaval began in May when Liz Taylor left her post as chief creative officer at FCB Chicago to become chief creative at Leo Burnett Worldwide. FCB later filled Taylor’s role with Andrés Ordóñez, who had been chief creative at Chicago-based Energy BBDO, which filled his slot by promoting Josh Gross and Pedro Pérez to the roles of co-chief creative officers. More change came to Energy BBDO in November when longtime CEO-president Tonie Paul stepped down to become chairperson. Jeff Adkins was promoted into the president-CEO role.

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