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Leo Burnett Sydney’s Bec Morton Talks About Her New Role as Group Head

Working with clients to ‘identify friction and trigger points’ and bringing people together are top priorities for the industry leader

Leo Burnett Sydney recently named Rebecca (Bec) Morton group head to take the lead on some of the agency’s blue-chip accounts.

The hire comes as the agency continues to embed innovation in everything it does, and push its Connect Strategy, for which it earned a top place on Australian Financial Review’s annual “Most Innovative Companies” report. The Connect Strategy launched in August 2015 with an offering including full-service media, strategy, innovation, social, PR, digital, shopper, business consultancy and data. Under the model, the agency recently retained Diageo’s media account along with Publicis sister shop Mediavest following a global review; it also handles all brand work.

We chatted with Morton to ask how teams lean into the Connect model, what her priorities are and which industry trends matter for her teams and clients.

As group head, what’s your No. 1 priority out of the gate?
For those who know me, they know I am all about people! Getting to know everyone that I work with, understanding what they do best, what motivates them and what we all need to be doing as a team are key for me and a major priority! By getting the best from our teams, we will deliver the best for our clients.

So far, I have been super-impressed with the Leo Burnett Sydney team. From strategy to creative to production, they have welcomed me with open arms and I already feel like (a good) part of the furniture.

What are your main responsibilities?
I am the group head across the Samsung, Caltex and GIO accounts—some inspiring businesses. I am here to help drive these world-class clients’ businesses forward via innovative consumer-first strategies and world-class effective advertising. I am also here to oversee a team of fabulous business executives, managers and directors, some of the smartest and most dedicated around. I hope to be able to pass over some of the things I have learnt along the way, and overall I want to make sure everyone in my team continues to love coming to work each day.

What are major brands looking to accomplish with their agency partners?
They are after true and lasting partnerships. Our clients are looking to us to both strategically and creatively help their businesses grow.

I know my clients are more than excited about the team of best-in-class agency specialists they get to work with on a daily basis. It is a collaborative experience unlike any agency I have ever been at, and I can’t wait to see what else we can achieve for our clients in FY17.

How do you work with clients and teams to lean into the agency’s Connect Strategy?
The Connect model begins and ends with the customer journey, from individual journeys to those that connect customers throughout their lives. My teams and I work hard with our clients to identify friction and trigger points that we then solve for them. A connected world demands a shift in how we think about anything we do. We work hard to ensure innovative, agile, effective and efficient delivery of omnichannel, best-in-class content.

What are some industry trends that you see as being major opportunities for Leo Burnett Sydney and your clients?
Leo Burnett Sydney’s focus on innovation means that it sits at the forefront of trends; in fact, I believe we help shape them—that is one of the main reasons I joined. Our clients are some of the most innovative in the world and together the opportunities are endless.

I am very lucky to be working with Samsung, which believes in “meaningful progress.” As such, they aim to consistently defy barriers. Barriers in technology. In engineering. In conventional wisdom. In “what is currently possible.” It is this belief, hardwired into the brand, that has helped Leo Burnett produce some amazing award-winning work, and we currently have more in development on several projects that will help them to continue to defy barriers.

How do you measure success for your teams and clients?
My business management team and I are here to provide excellent client service, and we aim to continually foster a culture of delighting our clients, and of going above and beyond. We need to know our clients and their businesses like a second skin, make their lives easy and their jobs enjoyable. If we can do that each day, we will all be winning. When my clients are happy, I am happy, and that equals success for myself and the team.