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Johannes Leonardo faces the future with three major talent infusions

As sea­soned art direc­tors and account man­agers know well, year’s end is often a time when up-and-com­ing shops decide to draft in new tal­ent to help them real­ize their growth ambi­tions. And New York’s Johannes Leonar­do, a bou­tique agency co-found­ed in 2007 by vet­er­an cre­atives Jan Jacobs and Leo Pre­mu­ti­co, is gear­ing up for the chal­lenges ahead with three major new appointments.

A tal­ent infusion

The agency, which won the Small Agency of the Year Sil­ver Award from AdAge in 2011 and the AdAge “Cam­paign of the Year” award for its “Project: Brief” cam­paign for Google last year, has fast estab­lished itself as an agency with uncon­ven­tion­al­ly orig­i­nal cre­ative out­put. That sug­gests its cre­ative flair is mar­ried to its busi­ness acu­men rather suc­cess­ful­ly – account man­agers are every bit as impor­tant as art direc­tors in up-and-com­ing agen­cies like this.

Michael Duda, 42, will leave his cur­rent role as man­ag­ing part­ner at the mar­ket­ing con­sul­tan­cy and invest­ment fund Con­sigliere Brand Cap­i­tal to become Johannes Leonardo’s first Chief Exec­u­tive (he’ll also join Jacobs and Pre­mu­ti­co as a part­ner). Duda has an impres­sive back­ground in Adland, hav­ing been part­ner and chief cor­po­rate strat­e­gy at New York’s pres­ti­gious Deutsch agency (part of the Inter­pub­lic Group of Com­pa­nies); he’s also done the rounds in high-pro­file agen­cies like Kir­shen­baum Bond & Partners.

Mr. Pre­mu­ti­co describes Duda as “a great guy with a gen­uine pas­sion for where the indus­try is head­ed,” a vital capac­i­ty, he believes, in an adver­tis­ing land­scape where “dig­i­tal agen­cies try to add skills in tra­di­tion­al adver­tis­ing, and tra­di­tion­al agen­cies try to add dig­i­tal skills.”

Cre­ative royalty?

Join­ing Mr. Duda at the agency to become its new exec­u­tive cre­ative direc­tors (and fly­ing in from their cur­rent pro­fes­sion­al home at Clemenger BBDO Mel­bourne) are the mul­ti-award-win­ning cre­ative duo, Julian Schreiber and Tom Mar­tin. The two have gar­nered more than 200 awards dur­ing their careers, includ­ing their exem­plary work on the Nation­al Aus­tralia Bank’s “Break Up” cam­paign, which won the Cannes Grand Prix in 2011, three Grand Prix Spikes and, as if that weren’t enough, the very first Grand Prix for effec­tive­ness. The cam­paign is cred­it­ed with trans­form­ing the bank’s image vir­tu­al­ly overnight.

Expe­ri­enced art direc­tors will agree: this agency is going places. It’s mov­ing to a big­ger, bespoke office in SoHo before the close of 2013 and the future looks bright.

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