John Preston steps down as Publicis Media chair

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 24 October 2019
John Preston

Publicis Media ANZ chairman John Preston will step down from his role at the end of the year.

Preston took on the role in September 2018, providing strategic support to the CEO and the Publicis Media executive leadership team.

This included overseeing the executive team following the departure of Matt James, who joined Zenith globally in London and the promotion of former Starcom boss Toby Barbour into his role as Publicis Media CEO.

Preston was also part of the recent acquisition of New Zealand's largest independent media agency MBM and played a large role in the merger of Blue 449 and Spark Foundry.

Preston says that after over three decades in media, it’s time to try his hand at something new and very different.

"It’s hard to leave an industry I love so much so I’m sure I will remain involved in some consultancy or advisory capacity in the future," Preston says.

"I am plotting a path to help combat climate change by getting involved in projects in marine conservation and adventure philanthropy, where I can combine my passion for travel with contributing to the welfare of the planet." 

Preston has worked in the industry for more than 30 years in the UK and Australia. Prior to his current role, Preston founded Match Media, which Publicis acquired in 2015.

The agency would later be named Blue 449 before its merger to now be part of Spark Foundry.

Match Media was a highly-awarded agency which at the time of acquisition was the largest media independent in Australia. Preston remained with the company for the years that followed to support the agency’s transition into Publicis Media.

“The addition of John’s award-winning agency to the Publicis fold has helped further strengthen our unique offering at Spark Foundry; while his strategic counsel at a broader Publicis Media level has been invaluable as we focus on the continued strengthening of our brands," Publicis Groupe ANZ Michael Rebelo says.

Gerry Boyle, CEO of Publicis Media APAC & EMEA added: “John is one of Australia's most respected media professionals, with a wealth of knowledge, an entrepreneurial spirit and proven leadership skills.

"Since we met in 2015, we have enjoyed a strong working relationship and John has made an amazing contribution to our business, first through Match, and laterally as Chairman of Publicis Media. On behalf of Publicis, we thank John for his time with us and wish him all the very best in his rekindled passion in marine conservation. I have no doubt he will make a positive impact there.”

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