Aileen Baker and Thandi Mbire join as planning partner and cultural planner
Leo Burnett London grows its strategy department with the hires of Aileen Baker (née Ross) and Thandi Mbire as planning partner and cultural planner respectively.
Aileen joins as planning partner from Krow Communications where she was group head of strategy, having previously worked at Grey, AMV.BBDO, TBWA and Publicis Groupe, and brings expertise in building omnichannel brand strategies. At Krow, Aileen was planning director at DFS for a decade and her strategy to transform the brand won an IPA Effectiveness Gold in 2018. She also led the strategic brand and comms development for chocolate confectionary brand Ferrero that produced the Dino Boy campaign in 2019.
Aileen’s remit will be to unlock the strategic insights to drive long-term commercial growth for clients including AXA and TUI. On her appointment, Aileen said: “I am delighted to be beginning a new chapter with Leo Burnett London and to getting started at a department which is on such a roll right now. I am looking forward to helping our clients go from strength-to-strength and to proving the power effectiveness can bring to the work we do together.”
Leo Burnett London has also appointed Thandi Mbire as cultural planner. She was most recently strategist at BBH London where she worked on accounts including Dulux, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Tesco. With the UK’s largest retailer Tesco she worked on the acclaimed skin tones plasters ‘About Bloody Time’ campaign and worked on the brand’s Covid comms response. Before BBH, she worked at Protein London and BritainThinks.
Her remit will see her responsible for bringing ideas, insight and cultural energy from the outside world into the planning team to build compelling stories for clients. She will work on McDonald’s and Kellogg’s.
On their appointments, Leo Burnett London’s CSO Josh Bullmore, who won the ‘strategic leader’ award in Campaign’s AOTY ceremony, said: “Our Populist Creativity mission is winning, helping our clients not only navigate tricky times, but thrive in them. To build on our momentum, we’re thrilled to be adding even more breadth and depth to our strategy department in Aileen and Thandi. Aileen is a big hitter and her rich history of delivering effectiveness for clients will help us kick on further. Thandi’s role will make sure all our clients are tapped into the zeitgeist so they can make brilliantly populist work.”
The planning team – headed up by Bullmore and head of planning Tom Sussman – has won numerous awards in the last year. This has included Gold for Long-term Thinking at the APG Awards, as well as gongs at the Effies and The Marketing Society Awards in the “Response to the Global Pandemic” category. At the end of last year, Leo Burnett London also became one of only six creative agencies in the UK to receive IPA Effectiveness Accreditation.
Aileen will report into Bullmore and Thandi into Sussman, and they start immediately.
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