Ex-Pandora director Chris Freel resurfaces as UnLtd CEO

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 23 October 2017
Chris Freel

Former Pandora commercial director Chris Freel has resurfaced as the CEO of UnLtd – the media and advertising industry's “social purpose organisation”. He is set to replace current CEO Paul Fisher, who is relocating overseas for family reasons.

British Freel, who also worked at Fairfax from 2009-2015, is the founder of ‘The Big Clash’ cricket event which has raised more than $100,000 for various charities backed by UnLtd.

See: Charity cricket Big Clash raises $65k as agencies defend title

Freel begins his new role on 1 November and work side-by-side with Fisher for a month.

Freel's role at Pandora came to an end earlier this year after the shock news that the music streaming provider would wind up Australia and New Zealand operations. At the time Pandora said “in the short-term we must remain laser-focused on the expansion of our core business in the United States. Its final steaming date was 31 July.

Freel tells AdNews he's excited to get into the organisation, build on what Fisher and the team have acheived, and really make a difference. 

"There's still an awareness job to do about what UnLtd does, and also change perceptions that it isn't just about giving money to charity, that it can also bring a lot of benefits to corporate partners to drive their own staff engagement and their bottom line. It's a two-way street," he says. 

“This role is one of those once-in-a career opportunities to apply my skills, experience and network to make a substantial social impact. 

“I am excited and privileged to be given this opportunity by the board of UnLtd and to lead the UnLtd team into its next phase of growth. I believe strongly in our ability to come together as an industry to create enormous social change and undo youth disadvantage in Australia on a truly massive scale."

Fisher had been in the role since May 2016, the former IAB CEO replaced Steve Taitoko, who was named as the organisation's first ever CEO in October 2015.

Hopefully the appointment of Freel, who is well-connected due to past roles, will see more stability in the top job

UnLtd chair and founder Kerry McCabe says: “Chris’ commercial experience and leadership skills will be invaluable to UnLtd.  He has deep empathy for our cause and believes in our vision to galvanise the industry behind addressing youth disadvantage.

See: The industry has contributed $9m to charity through UnLtd this year

“I would also like to acknowledge and thank Paul for his unwavering commitment and achievements over the past 18-months. Growing the industries’ FY17 contribution by over 30% YoY to AUD8.7M was an impressive achievement that most importantly resulted in many more young lives having brighter futures.”

UnLtd has raised more than $35 million in cash and contributed professional services to more than 60 youth focused charities since its launch in 2008.  It has a five year goal to contribute over $100million of cash and value to its charity partners by increasing the number and depth of its industry social impact partnerships, expanding its calendar of UnLtd events, and growing the number of charities it partners with.

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