WPP AUNZ executive John Steedman retires after 45-year career

John Steedman, an executive director of advertising giant WPP AUNZ – which owns POS, signage and display print specialist Active Display Group – has announced his retirement bringing to an end a 45-year career spanning many roles across the Asia Pacific region.

Steedman, known throughout the industry as Steady, was appointed as a director of WPP AUNZ in April 2016 and has held multiple roles with the last 12 months spent as the company’s chief operating officer and executive chairman of Media Investment Management.

He also served as an interim chief executive officer of the company from November 2018 to October 2019.

WPP AUNZ chairman Robert Mactier made the announcement via a statement to the ASX: “John has made an enormous contribution to WPP AUNZ and WPP plc as an executive and a director and his experience, advocacy and pragmatism will be greatly missed.

“John is widely respected as an industry leader in the media buying sector and as a passionate advocate on important issues including diversity and inclusion, and RU OK? suicide prevention and he is a leading voice in seeking greater accountability in online media commentary.

“John is loved by all at WPP AUNZ and by many clients and respected leaders across the industry. We will miss his friendship and contribution, but we understand his desire to take a step back from the frontline.

“On behalf of all at WPP AUNZ, we wish John a very happy and well-deserved retirement.”

WPP AUNZ chief executive officer Jens Monsees said Steedman had used his deep industry experience to provide invaluable support to the company over the last 12 months, particularly as it faced very challenging external circumstances due to COVID-19.

“I have been very grateful for his contribution as we have embarked on our transformation strategy which is now well underway, and he leaves with my thanks and best wishes for the future,” Monsees said.

Steedman said it had been an honour to serve WPP AUNZ and WPP plc for the past 45 years.

“Over this time, I have been greatly impressed by the calibre of the talent and creativity of the people I work with and their energy to embrace change and growth,” Steedman said.

“I have been through cycles of both positive tailwinds and tough downturns, and through each one, it is the fantastic clients and colleagues whom I have had the pleasure to work alongside, that has made this journey so rewarding and colourful.

“I have been considering retirement for a while, and now, having well and truly handed the reins over to Jens, is the right time. I wish the board and management all the very best in their future endeavours.”

Steedman has long been an advocate for print as a marketing channel. In 2014 he blamed a ‘digital hype’ and a lack of unity among publishers to come together and back print as having effective ROI. You can read that article here.

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