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People: PHD Worldwide Elevates Avril Canavan and Patrick Ryan to C-Suite Following Year of Growth

LONDON – PHD, part of Omnicom Media Group, has announced two new C-suite positions following a year of growth for the network. Avril Canavan has been promoted to Worldwide Chief Marketing and Communications Officer and Patrick Ryan to Worldwide Chief Commercial Officer. Both will continue reporting to Philippa Brown, worldwide CEO.

The newly created roles will see Canavan and Ryan form part of the worldwide executive team responsible for driving the network’s growth and will work closely with the regional and local leadership teams spanning over 100 offices.

Additionally, Emma Storer has been promoted to worldwide business development director, reporting to Ryan, while Jess Ozdemir and Lisa Williams join the worldwide marketing and communications team as worldwide director and EMEA director respectively, reporting to Canavan.


The appointments come off the back of several years of growth for the network, which has most recently included several global new business wins, including LG Electronics, TikTok and Pokerstars. Today, PHD counts Volkswagen Group, HSBC and Singapore Airlines amongst its global client base.

Canavan will oversee the strategic direction of PHD’s communications and marketing activities across the network and lead best practice. She joined PHD Worldwide in 2010, holding the title of global PR director before being promoted to worldwide marketing and communications director in 2013. Over the past nine years, she has been responsible for driving activities that have built PHD’s reputation as a global network. Prior to joining PHD in 2010, Canavan held the role of global PR director at Iris and previously ran the PR functions at TBWA\London and Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury & Partners.

Ryan will be responsible for developing PHD’s growth strategy and overseeing the implementation locally, regionally and globally.  He will focus on providing a 360-degree perspective across commercial, product, strategic and investment areas. He joined PHD in 2013 as worldwide business development director and has been at the helm of leading global and regional pitches, which has seen the network grow considerably, as well as advising on best practice. Ryan joined from UM where, following many years of running large global accounts, he led new business for EMEA.

“Avril and Patrick have been an instrumental part of PHD’s network growth story and I couldn’t be happier that they are taking on new senior roles, as we continue PHD’s ambitious growth plans and make a leap in our evolution as a network.  They’re a great team that has driven our approach to agency marketing and business development, which has manifested itself in everything from our success in recent pitches to our position as one of the most awarded networks globally” commented Philippa Brown, PHD’s Worldwide CEO.

“PHD has a strong and defining heritage as a strategic and creative media agency. I consider myself privileged to work with great talent across the network to showcase the creativity, innovation and thought leadership that makes PHD stand out from other network brands. I’m looking forward to the next part of the journey” said Canavan.

“The last six years have seen phenomenal growth across the network powered by an amazing group of talent and world-class technology.  PHD is in rapid ascendancy and I can’t wait to be part of our future success” said Ryan.


About PHD

A challenger mindset has been at the heart of PHD since it was founded in London in 1990 as the first media agency to offer strategic and creative planning. Today, PHD is a challenger brand at scale with over 100 offices in 74 countries, united by a philosophy of Finding a Better Way.

Even challenging the usual ways of working, PHD’s gamified operating system, Source, connects the network’s 6,000 brilliant minds to deliver innovation and creativity for clients across all traditional and emerging media channels.

According to benchmarking report The 2019 WARC Media 100, PHD has the most globally awarded offices and is the second most globally awarded network in the world.


As a thought leader in the industry, PHD has published several books, including Merge | The closing gap between technology and us and Overthrow II: 10 strategies from the new wave of challengers.

Part of Omnicom Media Group, PHD benefits from the buying power of the group and the cutting-edge, people-based precision marketing and insights platform Omni.

PHD is today one of the world’s fastest-growing media and communications agency networks and currently holds three Network of the Year 2018 awards from Campaign, Eurobest and Cristal.

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