Celebrity CEO Todd Sampson steps back from Leo Burnett to a non-executive chairman role

Geertz, Sampson, Bosilkovski

Geertz, Sampson, Bosilkovski

One of Australia’s most recognisable ad men Todd Sampson has reliquished the CEO role of ad agency Leo Burnett after eight years.

In recent years speculation has grown as to how hands on Sampson was at the agency he has been with for 12 years, as he picked up more TV and media work including his documentary series Redesign My Brain, and in the last 16 months posts on the Qantas and Fairfax boards.

He will now take on the role of executive chairman, handing the CEO duties of Sydney agency managing director Peter Bosilkovski, who has been the public face of the agency for the last year Melinda Geertz will remain the CEO of the Melbourne office.

“I have been the CEO of this company for 8 years and it’s time for change. I have always been open and clear about my succession plan,” said Sampson in a statement.

“Establish two strong leaders and management teams in each office and then give them the space they need, and deserve to do their jobs. Peter Bosilkovski’s appointment as CEO of the Sydney office was the final piece in that puzzle.

“Moving to a non-executive Chairman role not only gives Peter and Melinda space, it also gives me more time to focus on my other interests, particularly in the start-up space.

“As the non-executive Chairman, my job now is to help mentor and support both Melinda and Peter as they bring to life their ambitions for Leo Burnett.”

Bosilkovski started his career with JWT, working his way to group account director there before moving to Leo Burnett in 2009. He became managing director in Sydney last July.

Last year he was named media executive of the year at the CEO Magazine awards, and he is up for the same award again this year.

Describing himself as “passionate” about the agency he added: “Todd has been an incredible mentor to me and a friend for over six years and I appreciate the opportunity he has given me. I’m also glad this partnership will continue in his new role as a non-executive Chairman.”

The agency has been through a highly successful period for both awards and new work, winning Woolworths without a pitch last March, and this year landing the subsidiary Big W account.

It also won a slew of awards for the Small World Machines work for Coca-Cola, which activated in India and Pakistan.

In the last 12 months it has started to pick up clients on a more full-service basis, including Diageo which it handles the planning for but outsources the media buying.

However the agency is currently without a creative lead following the departure of Andy Dilallo to rivals M&C Saatchi earlier this year.

Geertz has been a stable presence at the Melbourne agency for the last 25 years. Recently it has produced noteworthy work for Honda and SPC Ardmona.

Sampson is set to appear in the next series of ABC panel show Gruen which starts next month.

Alex Hayes


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