13th Jul 2012

Leo Burnett unveils management succession plan

Giles Hedger and Paul Lawson promoted to new senior management positions.

Leo Burnett unveils management succession plan

Andrew Edwards, Chairman and Group CEO of Leo Burnett Group in the UK, has implemented the first stage of a succession plan in the UK agency with the promotion of Paul Lawson and Giles Hedger to new senior management positions.

With immediate effect, Paul Lawson will assume the title of Deputy Group CEO, and Giles Hedger will be promoted to Group Managing Director.

The promotions are in part a response to the growing challenges of managing such a substantial group of agency brands under one harmonised P&L. The Leo Burnett Group, which last year acquired digital specialist agencies Holler & Airlock, employs over 400 people, and is the UK's 4th largest agency [by billings].

A planner since the mid-90s, this is the first time that Hedger has held a Managing Director role, but to him the new departure makes logical sense.

Giles Hedger commented, "More than ever, the everyday business of the business in an agency is itself a strategic challenge. Managing an increasing number of deliverables across a new blend of disciplines, and doing so profitably, is the advertising industry's new management riddle."

Giles joined Leo Burnett as Chief Strategy Officer in September 2008 from MCBD (now Dare) where he had been Planning Director alongside Andy Nairn since 2004. Prior to that Giles was Deputy Head of Planning at JWT and Global Planning Director on HSBC.

Of the succession plan, Andrew Edwards says, “Succession planning, motivation and retention of our people have been the cornerstone of our longer term strategy. And with strength and depth in our agency’s management, the opportunity to further maximise the talents of both Paul and Giles was presented.”

Paul Lawson’s appointment as Deputy Group CEO will see him take on more commercial responsibility for the UK Group, as well as embracing an ambassadorial role on behalf of the broader London Group within the UK market. Paul retains his role as CEO of the Group’s ad agency, Leo Burnett London, a position he was promoted to in January 2011.

Paul has over twenty years experience in advertising working at ABM, GGT, Lowe and WCRS. He joined Leo Burnett in January 2004 to take on the role of Group Communications Director leading the Agency’s key McDonald’s account. He was soon after appointed to the Management Group with responsibilities for developing Leo Burnett’s extensive business units beyond advertising. Paul was promoted to Managing Director of Leo Burnett London in July 2005 and, in October 2007, was appointed Group Managing Director.