Leo Burnett Names Katie Newman U.S.A. Chief Marketing Officer
Newman joins newly appointed North America CEO Andrew Swinand in leading growth efforts
Leo Burnett named Katie Newman as chief marketing officer. Hot on the heels of Leo Burnett’s wins of MillerCoors and Jim Beam, Newman joins newly appointed North America Chief Executive Officer Andrew Swinand in leading new business and growth efforts for the agency’s U.S.A. operations.
“Katie is a force of positive energy, collaboration and strategy. She inherently understands the power of the Leo Burnett brand, having worked here before,” said Swinand of the appointment. “I am very proud to call her my business partner. I know that she will deliver growth and provide leadership for this company.”
Newman will help advance the Leo Burnett brand, and architect the teams and processes that will drive the agency’s business growth.
Newman brings nearly two decades of experience in digital media and content marketing. Throughout the last four years, Newman has led the charge in building three marketing start-ups alongside Swinand as the chief marketing officer of The Abundancy, Ardent and Transparent Media Partners, successfully exiting both The Abundancy and Ardent in the recently announced Leo Burnett acquisitions. Previous to her CMO post, Newman led new-business development and led accounts, content distribution and measurement strategies.
“Leo Burnett will redefine what it means to be a creative agency in 2017,” said Newman. “Data and creativity will no longer be at odds with one another. Data is telling us what people want, and if we harness it in the right way, we can respond with creative experiences that are more personal, timely and impactful than ever before.”
No stranger to Leo Burnett, Newman worked at the agency twice before on blue chip brands Hallmark and Allstate, including its iconic “Mayhem” campaign. Her time at Leo was punctuated by stints at Barkley and CP+B, where she pioneered some of Burger King’s most memorable campaigns, earning the brand the title of “Advertiser of the Decade” from Adweek in 2010. Her work has been recognized by major industry shows including the Emmy Awards, Cannes, One Show and the Effies.
Learn more about Katie Newman in the Q+A below:
This isn’t your first, or even second time at Leo. How does it feel to be back?
It feels like coming home. I first joined the company in 2004, and it’s refreshing to see that, after more than a decade, so many of the same wonderful clients and people remain. Yet there is a new energy at Leo Burnett that is beyond exciting. Great things are about to happen here.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
This is a defining moment for our entire industry, and Leo Burnett is set to reinvent the future of advertising. Burnett has always been known as a world-class creative agency that believes in HumanKind. Now we’re turning HumanKind into an operating system that harnesses data and technology to make our creative product even more powerful. The chance to shape this transformation is the opportunity of a lifetime. Everyone should take notice of what’s about to happen at Leo Burnett.
How did you get into this business in the first place?
Growing up, I loved to write stories and make short films with my grandpa’s video camera. As a teenager, I starred in an infomercial. My acting was terrible, but witnessing the production process was enlightening.
As I got older, I adopted a stronger business sense, but never lost the urge to be creative. I love marketing because it lives at the intersection of creativity and business. Also, marketing is always changing, so it never gets boring.
What lessons from your experience in launching start-ups do you plan to bring back to the agency world?
Before returning as CMO, I helped Andrew Swinand build three successful marketing start-ups. Start-ups require you to be curious, learn fast and fail fast. The sooner you test and learn, the sooner you can improve, scale and abandon what doesn’t work. As CMO of Leo Burnett, I want to foster a culture that encourages people to adopt a test-and-learn mentality to everything they do. It’s about constant progress – not perfection.
What’s your favorite part about the Leo Burnett culture?
The Breakfast is my favorite. No one can party like Leo Burnett.
Also, seeing Leo’s legendary glasses as part of our iconography makes me feel like Leo and I are kindred spirits. I am completely dependent on my glasses to see, and I wonder if he was the same way.
What’s the most exciting part of being in this industry in 2017?
2017 will be the year that data and creativity are no longer at odds with one another. Data is telling us what people want, and if we harness it in the right way, we can respond to people with creative experiences that are even more timely, personal and impactful. Data will enhance creativity – not hinder it.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m returning back to Chicago after a year in Northern California, so I’ve become obsessed with all things wine. I’m still figuring out varietals and regions, but it’s been fun to learn (and even more fun to drink).