Bob Brennan Moves to Miller
Former Leo Burnett President Bob Brennan has been named director of marketing foe SABMiller's Miller Brewing Company. He takes over for Steve Buerger who left for Time Warner. After Brennan's exit from Leo Burnett, we all wondered where he'd end up and speculation abounded he would head up a media group at Interpublic or launch an uber-media shop of his own. Some say Brennan could be tough to get along with and was referred to as "Chainsaw Al." I never saw that.
I spent a year at Starcom under Brennan and Jack Klues as a media director hired to start a media division to handle the media needs of recent Leo Burnett acquisition, TFA, a Chicago-based high technology agency with offices in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Austin. I spent another 1.5 years working at TFA in association with Starcom. To say the least, it was excrutiatingly difficult and I ultimately left.
It was the dot com era and there were new business pitches every other day it seemed. Couple that with the day to day media needs of clients across the four offices, the work, with no support staff, quickly turned into a recipe for burnout. This was during the birth of StarcomWorldwide, StarLink and the growth of a high tech agency from nothing to over $200 million in a year and there were, to say the least, some juicy management issues to deal with.
While it was a difficult time and there were those that made life miserable, Bob Brennan was not one of them. As a newcomer to the Starcom "media director's club," Brennan was supportive and, on several occasions, personally made sure I was aware, and invited to, important agency functions and social events. It was a dynamic time full of positives and negative and, in a sense, the whole thing begs for a book to be written on the experience. Someday, perhaps.