Todd Sampson has officially stepped down from his role as non-executive chairman at Leo Burnett, ending his 20-year career in advertising.
Sampson was previously CEO of the agency for eight years, before handing the reigns to Peter Bosilkovski and Melinda Geertz in 2015. Since then he has been providing guidance for Bosilkovski and Melbourne CEO Melinda Geertz, but has not played a client facing role.
On his exit, Sampson says he is confident his "job is done".
The news was first revealed by The Australian Financial Review, part of Fairfax where Sampson is a board member.
A statement provided to AdNews reads: "After nearly 10 years and over eight of them as a CEO, it's time for me to finally say goodbye to Leo Burnett. I have always believed your job as a leader is not complete until your succession is in place and thriving and that is the reason i stayed on the last year as a non-executive Chair. I can confidently now say - my job is done.
"Peter Bosilkovski in Sydney and Melinda Geertz in Melbourne are doing outstanding jobs and Leo Burnett, a company I will always love, has gotten stronger and stronger.
"Over 20 years ago, I was studying an MBA and my marketing lecturer fell down and broke her back. As a result she got a series of guest lecturers to substitute and one of those was a creative director from an advertising agency. He spoke about ideas, imagination and how an individual's mind could change almost anything. That lecture was the start of a 20 year advertising journey that would twist and turn around the globe and eventually lead me here. I'm very thankful for everything this industry has given me. I've worked with some of the most vibrant, diverse and clever minds on three continents and I'm proud to have been a part of it."
More recently, Sampson has been heavily involved in television. He is known for his time as a host on ABC's Redesign My Brain, a panellist on Gruen and for starring in his own show on Network Ten last year, Body Hack. Sampson is currently filming another adventure science television series with Discover. He is also a board member of Qantas.
Alongside that, Bosilkovski thanked Sampson for his contribution to the advertising industry in a statement.
"Todd may be leaving the industry in a formal capacity, but the impact, influence and invaluable contribution he has had on Leo Burnett and the advertising industry as a whole will always be remembered. During his time as CEO, we won Agency of the Year 12 times on a local, regional and global level and were in the world's Top 10 Creative agencies three times," he says.
"It’s been an honour to have worked alongside such a rare talent, and I thank Todd for all he has achieved for Leo Burnett and wish him all the best for the future."
He later told AdNews: "It’s impossible to overstate the impact Todd had on the Leo Burnett brand during his 10 plus years at the agency. Even before he became CEO, his passion for creativity helped the agency gain global recognition thanks to the part he played in the creation of Earth Hour. And during his time as CEO he established a people first culture that remains integral to the agency to this day. Through his involvement with Gruen, he not only continued to raise the profile of Leo Burnett, but the industry in general, inspiring established colleagues and aspiring marketing professionals alike. I have no doubt that he will continue to succeed in the next chapter of his illustrious career. "
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