CEO of McCann Ben Lilley to step down

McCann Australia’s chairman and CEO Ben Lilley is stepping down at the end of March and relocating to France with his family.

Lilley joined McCann Australia as chairman and CEO in 2011 and became the creative leadership chair for Asia Pacific in 2016.

Lilley joined McCann in 2011

McCann commenced a search for Lilley’s replacement several months ago and an announcement is expected to be made shortly.

Lilley joined McCann after selling his agency SMART to McCann in 2011 and was tasked with reinventing its “integrated creative offering”.

Under Lilley’s leadership the agency produced one of the most awarded campaigns for Metro Trains, Dumb Ways to Die.

The Dumb Ways to Die video for Metro Trains went viral with 2.3m views on YouTube in just 48 hours. It has since clocked up 160m views, making it one of the most viral ads of all time.

The news of Lilley’s resignation comes five months after consultancy Deloitte poached McCann Melbourne’s managing director Adrian Mills, head of strategy and media David Phillips, executive creative director Matt Lawson and digital media lead Justine Mills.

The four McCann staffers joined Deloitte Digital to launch its brand creative and media offering.

Lilley said it was time for a break.

“Having run SMART for 12 years and now McCann for six years, I’m ready for a proper break. I’m grateful to the many awesome people I’ve worked with in this time who’ve made our businesses such great successes. I’m also grateful for the many equally awesome opportunities I’ve been able to enjoy with McCann, especially in my APAC creative role,” he said.

“I’m pleased to be able to hand over to our incoming CEO an agency that’s in such great shape, with a talented management team across our four Australian offices. McCann’s momentum here and across the globe is clear to see and I know our business will continue to go from strength to strength. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

Charles Cadell, president McCann Worldgroup APAC, added: “Ben has led one of McCann’s most successful offerings for years, responsible for delivering outstanding work and building a truly dynamic and exciting business. In his capacity as our APAC CLC Chair, he effected remarkable results, with 2017 being the best ever year for our regional award wins – both on the creative and the effectiveness front. One of those rare hybrid leaders – a true mix of creative and CEO – he’ll be very much missed by the network and we wish him all the best.”

McCann’s clients include University of Melbourne, Metro Trains, Coca-Cola, Worksafe Victoria, Mastercard and Tiger Airways.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.