Liz Taylor, the former chief creative officer at FCB Chicago who left that agency earlier this month after two and a half years, will be joining Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett in a global creative leadership role, according to sources close to the matter.
A Leo Burnett representative declined to comment. Taylor has not responded to messages seeking comment.
While the precise nature of Taylor’s role is not clear, sources indicated it will go beyond that agency’s Chicago headquarters and even its North American operations. Taylor will remain in her Windy City home base, sources said.
News of her departure from FCB, which came as a surprise to agency leadership, arrived one day after Publicis Groupe announced that executive chairman Mark Tutssel will retire in June. Tutssel is a ubiquitous presence at global awards shows and has effectively served as the public face of Leo Burnett for years.
One source said Publicis initially planned to announce Taylor’s hiring either during or after this year’s Cannes Lions festival. Publicis Groupe makes its official return to Cannes this summer after last year’s much-debated “pause” pending the release of its internal platform Marcel. In recent interviews, including a discussion of the $4.4 billion Epsilon acquisition, CEO Arthur Sadoun has emphasized the importance of heightening his company’s creative services.
The incoming executive is also said to be close to fellow IPG veteran Nick Law, who became chief creative officer for all of Publicis Groupe, last year. In the Tutssel announcement, representatives said Law would work with the Leo Burnett global Creative Council to “ensure a smooth transition” but indicated that no decisions had been made regarding Tutssel’s successor.
Taylor brings more than 25 years of industry experience to her new job. She started her career at JWT before moving on to top positions at prominent Chicago agencies including Ogilvy, where she became global executive creative director and helped update digital and social media practices. FCB brought her on to lead its Chicago office in 2016, and she proceeded to drive that team’s work across several key accounts including Michelob Ultra, Fiat Chrysler, Clorox, Radio Flyer, Glad, Archer+Wolf and the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.
Her campaigns have been celebrated at Cannes, One Show and the Clios, and she has served on the juries of several major awards shows. She was a member of the Times Up Advertising movement addressing gender inequality and encouraged her agency to participate in #FreeTheBid, an effort to enlist more female directors on major commercial projects. She was also a member of Adweek’s 2018 Creative 100 list.
Taylor was the first of three creative leaders to leave FCB Chicago this month. Global CCO Susan Credle, who has started working more closely with leadership in that office, told Adweek, “As we say at FCB, we are always a work in progress; always never finished. Positive change is inevitable.”