After 23 years in the region, Michelle Kristula-Green is leaving her post as Asia-Pacific president of Leo Burnett, transferring control of the network's operations to Jarek Ziebinski, who is currently chairman of Leo Burnett Central and Eastern Europe.
According to Tom Bernardin, the Publicis agency’s worldwide chairman and CEO, Kristula-Green will move to Chicago, taking on the responsibilities of global head of HR.
“Michelle will be working with the global team in Chicago on talent management. Her move will bring Asia closer to global HQ.
He added: “Obviously there are challenging times ahead and our expectations [of Asia-Pacific] have to be softened. But I believe there is no better time to make changes than in difficult times.”
Kristula-Green, who has been with Burnett for 27 years, is the only female regional head of an agency network in Asia-Pacific. During her time in Japan, she broke the glass ceiling to become the first woman to run a multinational agency in the country.
She was president and representative director of Beacon Communications, a partnership with Dentsu that resulted from the merger of Leo Burnett and D’Arcy’s operations in Japan. She led the integration of the Publicis Groupe sister companies into a single agency. “This role will allow me to focus on my passion, talent. It’s an issue that is top of the global agenda. But it’s sad to leave Asia after so many years,” she noted.
This will be Ziebinski’s first Asia stint. He was previously head of Burnett Poland, and has been with the agency for 14 years. “Central Europe is a very big, diversified region, with dynamics that are similar to Asia and markets which each have their own culture,” he commented.
He will be based in Singapore, effective June. A replacement in Central and Eastern Europe is yet to be announced.
Burnett is the third agency network to change its regional leadership in recent months, following the departures of Grey’s Mike Amour and Ogilvy’s Miles Young.
Read Michelle Kristula-Green's interview with Campaign India, here.
(pictured left to right: Leo Burnett India's Arvind Sharma and Michelle Kristula-Green)