After 34 wonderful years in advertising Michael Conrad retired in 2003. Born in Germany - "a country more famous for great cars and less famous for great ads", as his friend John Hegarty likes to point out - Michael brought German engineering to global quality management in advertising, helping Leo Burnett Worldwide Inc. become Global Agency Network of the Year in 2000 (AdAge) and Most Awarded Agency Network in 2001 (Gunn Report). Under his creative leadership 27 Leo Burnett agencies were named Agency of the Year in their countries, some of them more than once.
Michael began his career in 1968 as a copywriter for Young & Rubicam, Frankfurt. In 1972, then Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather Frankfurt, Michael left with colleague Creative Director Walter Lürzer to start TBWA in Frankfurt. In 1975, Michael and Walter set up Lürzer, Conrad, subsequently winning Agency of the Year and several Campaign of the Year awards. In 1980, the agency merged with Leo Burnett Germany, continuing its growth and creative success.
When Walter Lürzer retired in 1982 to launch Lürzer's Archive, the agency was renamed Michael Conrad & Leo Burnett. In 1986, Michael moved to Chicago to become President and Chief Creative Officer of Leo Burnett International, which included creative leadership on global accounts like Marlboro.
In 1996, he became Vice Chairman and Chief Creative Officer Leo Burnett Worldwide. Michael presided over many juries of international advertising festivals, including Cannes, AdFest, Clio and Golden Drum. He serves as Dean of the Roger Hatchuel Lions Academy and is an Honorary Member of ADC Switzerland, ADC*Europe and ADC Germany. In 2002, German business daily Handelsblatt and Wirtschaftswoche magazine inducted him into the German Advertising Hall of Fame.
Upon retiring in 2003, ADC Germany's Sebastian Turner approached Michael to help develop ADC's education initiatives. Having identified "low-quality creative leadership" as the main reason for low-quality standards in creative industries, the idea was born to establish The Berlin School of Creative Leadership.
Michael lives with his wife Helga in Zurich, Switzerland. They enjoy their three children's creative progress: Anja's fresh photography; Josepha and Philipp's desperate serenades.