Digital 40 Over 40 2017: Andrew Swinand, CEO, Leo Burnett North America

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Andrew Swinand
CEO, Leo Burnett North America

Established companies often bemoan the fact that they can’t bring a "startup mentality" in-house. For Leo Burnett North America though, that’s no problem. Andrew Swinand, the agency’s CEO, has helped launch 19 companies that span the media, healthcare, analytics and technology segments. He has personally started nine of those companies and sold six of them. When Swinand joined Burnett in January, the agency bought Abundancy and Ardent, two digital agencies that were part of the portfolio of Abundant Venture Partners, an accelerator network of startups that Swinand started in 2011. 

Swinand has also channeled his entrepreneurial energies in other ways. In 1998, he led Procter & Gamble’s first foray into e-commerce. He also became president of Starcom MediaVest Group, the world’s largest media agency, at 38. As president, Swinand managed over $40 billion of media investments across 110 global offices. He also oversaw media strategies for brands including Microsoft, Samsung, Procter & Gamble, Oracle and Autodesk. Swinand is credited with ushering the agency into the digital age during his four years with that title. 

Never shy about voicing criticism when he feels it’s warranted, Swinand charged in 2011 that Starcom wasn’t making critical technology advances and blamed owner Publicis. (More recently, he has said that he’s "impressed" with how far Publicis has come in this regard.)

Swinand joined the armed forces at 17, earning a Bachelors of Science in Economics and Marketing from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School while enrolled in its Army ROTC program. He then served as a U.S. Army Platoon leader and proudly served his country for four years. That has instilled a discipline that carries to this day: Every morning at 6 AM, Swinand spends an hour walking on a treadmill with a 50-lb. camping pack strapped to his back. 

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