Toby Barbour appointed Publicis Media CEO

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 3 July 2019

Publicis Media has appointed Toby Barbour as CEO of its Australian and New Zealand operations, following the departure of Matt James earlier this year.

Currently CEO of Starcom Australia, Barbour will start in his new role effective immediately, while staying on as interim CEO of Starcom until a replacement is named.

The role has been vacant since the beginning of the year after it was revealed that James would be taking on the role of global brand president for Publicis-owned agency Zenith. He relocated to the UK as part of the role.

Barbour will report to Publicis Media EMEA and APAC CEO, Gerry Boyle, as well as Publicis Groupe Australia and New Zealand CEO, Michael Rebelo.

Rebelo was appointed to a larger role within the business following the news of James' departure. John Preston will also work with Barbour in a consultative role as chairman of Publicis Media ANZ.

"He is charged with ensuring that we continue to create a progressive, effective operating model for our clients and our people," Boyle says.

"Working in collaboration with our brand CEOs, across solutions, Toby will ensure that we continue to develop our talent and work to the highest standards, helping deliver the Power of One model.”

Along with Starcom, Barbour will manage Publicis Media’s agency brands including Zenith, Spark Foundry and Performics.

Barbour has been at the helm of Starcom for almost two and a half years, and prior to that held roles within the agency including MD and client services director.

Most recently, Barbour led the agency’s appointment to the P&G account, while retaining Subaru, Snooze and Metcash following business reviews.

“I’m inspired by Publicis Groupe’s vision for the future and believe that through a powerful combination of content, data and technology we have a unique opportunity to lead client marketing transformation," Barbour says.

"It’s a privilege to lead our Publicis Media solution, and I look forward to working closely with our agency brands to drive our strategic growth plans.”

Barbour was also responsible for rebooting the agency’s human experience (HX) brand story, investing in commerce, content, data, research and talent; and developing the ‘Return on Experience’ measurement framework.

Before joining Starcom, Barbour held lead sales and marketing roles, including GM consumer marketing at Sony and sales and marketing director at Olympus.

“In his new group media role, we will be working closely, along with agency CEOs across Publicis Groupe, to ensure that we continue to offer flexibility, strength and resources to clients that can benefit from a truly integrated approach through our unique Power of One model," Rebelo says.

With Barbour promoted to the ANZ leader role, Publicis is now on the hunt for two new CEOs, with Spark Foundry also searching for a replacement for outgoing boss Sue Squillace.

Last month, it was revealed that Squillace would depart the business to take on the role of CEO at Dentsu Aegis Network-owned agency Carat.

This is the third major holding group position to be filled this year, following the news that Henry Tajer would be taking the CEO position for rival Dentsu Aegis Network and Jens Monsees would be taking over as CEO of WPP AUNZ.

The appointment of Barbour only leave on major holding group media business without a leader, IPG Mediabrands, which is yet to appoint a replacement for former group boss Danny Bass.

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