Jay Leveton: 40 Under 40 2012

EVP, Worldwide, Burson-Marsteller; Interim CEO, Penn Schoen Berland

At 36, Jay Leveton is one of the youngest members of Burson-Marsteller’s business operations team. The firm’s second-ranking executive after the CEO, Leveton has been instrumental in expanding the company’s global presence and is a trusted adviser to major clients including GlaxoSmithKline and UnitedHealthcare. He has bolstered the agency on various fronts, including staffing. He is heavily involved in senior-level talent acquisition and has brought big hitters such as Lisa Travatello, global chair of consumer and brand marketing, and Dallas Lawrence, creative director and chief global digital strategist, to the firm.

In a career full of achievements, Leveton was the founder and first CEO of Proof Integrated Communications, managing the $22 million division and nearly 75 employees. Prior to that, he was a senior leader at Penn Schoen Berland, where he started his career in 1998, working his way up from assistant to former Burson CEO Mark Penn to becoming MD of the New York City office where clients included Comcast, Procter & Gamble, Ford, and Merrill Lynch. At 30, he started Penn Schoen Berland’s first issue advertising division, which he later merged with Burson’s advertising agency to form Proof. An expert in both quantitative and qualitative research, he has led national and international research projects in more than 25 countries, ranging from China and Indonesia to Angola and Azerbaijan.

When it comes to crisis communications, his experience includes helping Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia deal with the impact of its founder’s personal actions on business and assisting Virginia Tech in the aftermath of the April 2007 campus shootings.

"It would be difficult to find a professional at age 36 who possesses Jay’s depth and breadth of experience," observes Penn. "He is a crucial member of the global leadership team and at the forefront in helping Burson-Marsteller develop the best talent and capabilities to compete strongly in the social media and digital space."

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