Hall "Cap" Adams Jr. guided Leo Burnett¿s worldwide operations from 1986 to 1991, championing integrated communications services that resulted in unprecedented growth at the agency network. The fact that Adams began his Burnett career moving office furniture in 1956 and eventually rose to the company¿s highest ranks is testament to his dedication and work ethic.
His moving duties complete, Adams joined the media department before becoming an assistant account executive on Procter & Gamble in 1959. By 1973 he was an account director on the Philip Morris account. When Adams was named executive vice president of marketing services in 1981, he displayed a dedication to integrated communications that would characterize his career. While he placed primary emphasis on the agency¿s creative product, he helped expand Burnett services to embrace direct response, sales promotion, event marketing and an integrated marketing services department. In 1982 Adams became chairman and CEO of Leo Burnett USA. At the end of 1986, he took the global reins as chairman and CEO of Leo Burnett Company Inc. For the next five years, he presided over the largest domestic and international growth in the agency¿s history — an average 20 percent annual rate — culminating with combined billings of $3.89 billion in 1991.
While CEO, Adams revitalized Leo Burnett¿s culture in the public eye, making the agency synonymous with the drive to be "best in the world, bar none." In 1988, Leo Burnett USA was named "Agency of the Year" by both Advertising Age and ADWEEK, the first time one agency received the honor from both magazines in the same year. That same year, the agency brought home an unprecedented three Gold Lions at Cannes and topped $1 billion in billings for the first time. Under Adams¿ watch, new business boomed with the addition of Beef Industry Council, Miller Lite, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System launch and more.
Adams was passionate about personal relationships with clients and employees, no matter how hectic his days. He was one of the only executives in the industry who always answered his own phone. This was considered so remarkable that his phone number was retired when he retired on January 1, 1992.
Throughout his life, Adams has devoted a significant time to volunteering for charitable organizations. Junior Achievement, which helps launch successful careers by linking students with corporations, named him a director emeritus. The Off The Street Club, a confidence-building refuge for kids on Chicago¿s West Side, granted Adams a lifetime achievement award in 1991. In addition, he is a longtime board member of Chicago¿s Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke¿s Medical Center, one of the nation¿s premier research and teaching hospitals. Adams also serves on the corporate boards of McDonald¿s, Sears and the Moody¿s Corporation.