President, Berlin School of Creative Leadership Foundation, Germany
After 34 wonderful years in advertising, Michael retired in 2003. Born in Germany – “a country more famous for great cars and less famous for great ads“, as his friend Sir John Hegarty likes to point out – Michael brought some “German engineering to global quality leadership in advertising“. Under his creative leadership, Leo Burnett Worldwide Inc. was named “Global Agency Network of the Year in 2000“ by AdAge, “Most Awarded Agency Network in 2001“ by the Gunn Report and in 27 countries, Leo Burnett agencies were named „Agency of the Year“, some of them more than once.
Michael began his career in 1968 as a copywriter at Young & Rubicam in Frankfurt. In 1972, then Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather Frankfurt, Michael left with colleague Creative Director Walter Lürzer to start TBWA Germany 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“, Lürzer, Conrad 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 was appointed Vice Chairman and Chief Creative Officer Leo Burnett Worldwide.
Michael presided over many juries of international advertising festivals, including “Cannes”, “AdFest”, “Clio”, “Golden Drum” and helped founding and designing the architecture of „The Cup“. He is Honorary Member of the ADC*Europe, the ADC Germany, the German Designer Club DDC and got „Hall of Fame“ honours from German business daily „Handelsblatt“ and „Wirtschaftswoche“ magazine, ADC Switzerland and the Golden Drum Festival.
Upon retiring in 2003, the ADC Germany 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, a global EMBA business school for creative leadership in creative industries like advertising, media, journalism, entertainment, design, architecture, communication technology and marketing. The school opened its doors in 2006 and today counts participants from more than 60 countries.
Michael lives with his wife Helga in Zurich, Switzerland.