People: PHD appoints Chris Stephenson to Worldwide Chief Marketing Officer

LONDON, UK — Global media network PHD, part of Omnicom Media Group, has named Chris Stephenson Worldwide Chief Marketing Officer. He succeeds Avril Canavan, who, after 11 years in the role, left the network last month to consult.

Stephenson, who is currently PHD APAC’s Regional Head of Strategy and Planning based in Singapore, will move to London and start the role in January 2022. He will report directly to Philippa Brown, Worldwide CEO, and be responsible for the strategic direction of the network’s external and internal marketing, aligned to business development goals.

Chris Stephenso, Worldwide Chief Marketing Officer PHD

His remit will include amplifying PHD’s ‘Make the Leap’ positioning across its network of 107 offices in 74 countries – a call to action and reference to how the agency prioritises creativity to drive disproportionate growth for their clients, backed by its proprietary planning platform Omni Studio.


Philippa Brown, PHD Worldwide CEO, said, “Chris is a talented marketer who understands the PHD brand proposition, product, and platforms better than anyone. As well as having solid client experience and a deep understanding of our proprietary systems like Omni and Omni Studio, he has co-authored and championed PHD’s thought leadership over the years, presenting it on industry platforms across APAC. He is known as a truly creative thinker and, as Worldwide Chief Marketing Officer, will be instrumental in showcasing how PHD’s strategic, creative thinking can help brands make the leap ahead of their competitors”.

Stephenson’s career with PHD spans nearly two decades and has seen him work in London, Sydney and Singapore. He joined PHD UK in 2003 before moving to Australia to launch PHD Sydney in 2009. He was promoted to Head of Strategy and Planning for APAC out of Singapore in 2015 and has become a regular and respected commentator on the communications industry, presenting on stages at Cannes Lions, Spikes Asia, MediaTech Asia, and Mumbrella360.

He has delivered best-in-class strategic media planning for a range of clients across Europe and APAC, including Diageo, Singapore Airlines, Unilever, ANZ Bank, Google, Coca-Cola, Adidas, Ferrero, HSBC, eBay, LG, and The Guardian.

As an industry thought-leader, Stephenson has co-written multiple books on the future of the media industry, including PHD’s latest publication, ‘Shift | A Marketing Rethink’, which explains how marketers can stay ahead of change and stop just responding to it.

Commenting on his appointment, Stephenson said: “I can’t wait to get started in this new role at such an exciting time for PHD, and at such a pivotal moment for our industry. For the last two decades I’ve been fortunate to work with brands to engage their audiences in positive, constructive, and innovative ways. Now, powered by our ‘Make the Leap’ philosophy, I couldn’t be more excited to be working with our network around the world to do that for PHD.”

Mark Holden, Worldwide Chief Strategy Officer, added: “I’ve worked with Chris for a long time, and he’s a great addition to the Worldwide leadership team, not only because of his credentials as a creative and visionary leader, but because of his infectious energy. He will no doubt build on the great foundations already laid and help our markets around the world take their agency marketing to the next level.”

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