Jenny Burns succeeds Paul Jakimciw as Chief Executive of KBS Albion

12 April 2018 5 min. read
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Jenny Burns has been confirmed as the new Chief Executive Officer of KBS Albion, as the advertising agency turned disruptive consultancy looks to continue growing in an industry that it only entered within the last four years. She replaces out-going Paul Jakimciw, after the long-term Albion leader opted to leave in pursuit of new start-up projects at the turn of the year.

Founded in 2002 as an advertising agency, as Albion, before being acquired in 2014 by MDC Partners-owned KBS Group, the newly formed KBS Albion found itself at the heart of a recent global trend in the consulting sector. As the consulting industry continues to ramp up efforts to branch into the advertising scene, KBS Albion offers an example of how an advertising firm can successfully be integrated into a consulting firm’s portfolio and operations. 

KBS Albion now specialises in business transformation, with a particular emphasis on product and service innovation; notably working to help modernise automotive manufacturer BMW and fashion brand Keds. The firm also recently won a silver Cannes Lion and a silver Clio for helping to create the new AI-powered healthcare business Ada.

As the group continues to grow its profile in the disruptive consulting space, it has confirmed the appointment of its new CEO, with immediate effect. Jenny Burns, who commands a quarter century of industry experience, will now work to develop Albion's practice in the area of culture change, to help ensure that the new propositions and ventures that the firm develops are fully embraced by client's organisations. In the firm’s top job, Burns will also assume full responsibility for the leadership and development of Albion, while working to maintain the company’s global growth goals.

Jenny Burns and Paul Jakimciw - KBS Albion

Most recently, Burns held the role of Director of Brand and Customer Experience at Albion client, Just. The role proved to be a fateful audition for her new position with the transformation consultancy, as Just was formed from a merger between Just Retirement and fierce industrial competitors Partnership Assurance. After the splicing of the two firms, Burns worked alongside Albion and other members of the Just team, to transform the business from a successful product provider to a service brand.

This was just the latest chapter in Burns’ client-side career, which spans 25 years, however, having held numerous senior roles at major corporations, leading transformational and innovative changes in well-established and complex businesses along the way. This included a four year stint with global insurance group RSA, most recently spending two years as Group Communications, Brand and Social Media Director, following two years as Communications and Engagement Director, UK & Western Europe. Before this, Burns also enjoyed spells as the Head of Internal and Group Communications for a spate of global entities, fulfilling roles with Barclays, Centrica British Gas, HBOS and Telefonica O2.

New role

On being appointed KBS Albion’s CEO, Jenny Burns commented, “Having worked so closely with the [KBS Albion] team during my time at Just, I was really impressed with their ways of working, level of commitment and passion, that joining the company was an easy decision to make!

Remarking on the challenge of keeping pace with the ever-evolving needs of Albion’s customers, she added, “I join at a really interesting time, when a new category of consultancy is starting to emerge and I believe the expertise and skills I gained working on transformation projects client side will add real value to our existing and future clients.”

Guy Hayward, Global Chief Executive of Albion’s parent firm, KBS Global, meanwhile stated, “We’re thrilled to welcome Jenny to Albion. Having been a changemaker client for so long, she brings a unique perspective to the challenges businesses face and understands what they are looking for in a transformation partner. She will be a real asset to the global KBS Network and her desire and enthusiasm to help clients drive and embrace change within their organisation will be invaluable.”

Jenny Burn’s appointment comes after the exit of KBS Albion’s former CEO, Paul Jakimciw who confirmed he would be leaving the company in late 2017, in order to focus on start-up projects. Jakimciw had been with Albion since 2008, becoming Managing Director at the then-advertising agency in 2012, before the acquisition and integration into KBS saw him become CEO of the newly combined entity in 2016.

Speaking on his time at the company, Jakimciw reflected, “The last two years have been an incredible way to cap almost a decade in the business. I’m enormously proud of the journey Albion has been on in that time. The agency is now set up for the future, against a backdrop of enormous disruption in the industry.”

Praising the outbound former CEO, Guy Hayward added, “Paul has done an amazing job driving KBS Albion forward to become a critical part of the KBS network and one of the most exciting propositions in London; evidenced in partnerships like Ada. Ever conscientious, Paul’s helping us find his successor and manage the transition.”