Melinda Geertz goes from Leo Burnett

Paige Murphy
By Paige Murphy | 23 June 2021
Melinda Geertz

Melinda Geertz is stepping down as CEO of Leo Burnett Australia.

Emma Montgomery, currently CEO of the Sydney office, will replace her.

“I’ve loved this agency for more than three decades," says Geertz.

"I consider myself incredibly lucky to have found a company early on in my career that gave me so much opportunity, trust and respect.

"Leo Burnett has been an amazing part of my life, and I’m immensely proud of what we’ve been able to build and achieve over all these years.”

Geertz has been in her role since 2017. Before that she was CEO of Leo Burnett Melbourne for 15 years.

She started her career with Leo Burnett in Chicago before moving to Australia.

“Melinda has had a long and inspirational career with Leo Burnett, and has been the driving leadership force behind the many years of the agency’s success," Publicis Groupe ANZ CEO Michael Rebelo says.

"Melinda has been a true bastion of creativity, an inspirer of many and a great human to work for, and with. On behalf of Publicis Groupe, I would like to thank her for every ounce of blood, sweat and passion she has given Leo Burnett and the Groupe.

“In Melinda’s infinite wisdom, she leaves her beloved Leo Burnett in fantastic hands with Emma Montgomery stepping into the national CEO role. Emma has Leo Burnett in her veins, a global perspective and multifaceted experience having worked in both creative, media and in global chief strategy roles.”

In early March, Geertz announced the appointment of Montgomery as CEO of Leo Burnett Sydney. Montgomery will now take on the national CEO role in July.

“I was thrilled that Emma wanted to come ‘home’. Emma’s just the right person to step up and lead Leo Burnett," Geertz says.

"It’s the perfect time to hand over the reins – there’s so much energy, growth and momentum in the business as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Recent new business wins have included HBF, Vitasoy, The Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Destination NSW, Case IH, Saputo Dairy Australia and project work for two government departments.

“Our agency philosophy is really simple – ‘what helps people, helps business’. Melinda has been the embodiment of that in her work, in how she has led the agency, and in the depth of impact she has driven, and I am forever grateful for having had the experience to work alongside her," Montgomery says.

“Today, there are far more ways businesses can create value for the people they serve, using every part of their brand experience to create change in new and interesting ways.

"As I look to the future of Leo Burnett, I am excited to bring my own multidisciplinary, multi-market experience to our clients, strategic partners and the talented people I get to work with each day.”

Geertz will return to the US later this year to be with family.

“The hardest thing for me is saying goodbye to the remarkable people I’ve worked with – agency colleagues and client partners – who have made every day at Leo’s interesting, challenging, exciting, purposeful and very fulfilling. I’m so grateful," she says.

“Right now, I’m focused on our people and clients. Nothing’s changed. And as soon as it’s possible, I’ll head back to the U.S. to spend time with my family there. My dad turns 100 this year, so that’s where I want to be.”

Leo Burnett Group global CEO Andrew Swinand says Geertz has been "indispensable" to the agency globally.

“We would like to thank her for her enduring commitment to our people and our product," Swinand says.

"We look forward to seeing Leo Burnett’s strength in Australia continue under Emma’s leadership, who I have had the pleasure of working with closely in her recent role as President and Chief Strategy Officer here in Chicago.”

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