Leo Burnett’s Chaka Sobhani in surprise switch to top DDB international role

It’s been a pretty stellar year for Leo Burnett, in the UK at least, but this is what it didn’t need: highly rated global CCO and London creative boss Chaka Sobhani (below) is leaving the Publicis-owned agency to join Omnicom’s DDB Worldwide as president and international CCO. Global CCO Ari Weiss left two weeks ago to set up his own agency.

“International” in Sobhani’s new title is interesting. Does this mean that adam&eveDDB CCO Richard Brim, currently spending time in the US where A&E has taken over DDB New York, is being lined up for the US-based global role? He might, of course, see Sobhani’s arrival as a problem.

DDB global CEO Alex Lubar says: “(Sobhani’s) energy is infectious, her drive is relentless, and her dedication to delivering outstanding creative products for her clients is unquestionable. She is the type of leader that makes you want to be, make, and do everything better.” Sobhani joins in January, suggesting the move has been in the offing for a while.

Leo Burnett UK CEO and Publicis.Poke boss Charlie Rudd says: “We wish Chaka all the very best in her new role and thank her for her contribution to Leo London’s success. We are fortunate to have great strength in depth in our creative department and will be announcing our plans very shortly.”

Rudd sounds as imperturbable as ever but he has a lot on his plate trying to turn round Publicis.Poke as well as overseeing Leo Burnett and Fallon. Burnett is also waiting to hear if it’s won Vodafone against McCann. Maybe this will kick off the traditional round of end of year agency musical chairs.

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