John Preston to step down as Publicis ANZ chair to focus on combating climate change

John Preston will step down from his role as Publicis Media’s ANZ chair at the end of the year to focus on combating climate change through marine conservation and adventure philanthropy.

Preston has held the role for just over a year, providing strategic support to Publicis Media’s regional CEO Gerry Boyle, after the agency he founded, Match Media, was acquired by Publicis in 2015. Match is now part of Publicis media agency Spark Foundry.

Preston will finish in the role at the end of the year

At the time of Match’s acquisition, it was the largest independent media agency in the country.

Publicis Groupe’s ANZ CEO, Michael Rebelo, wished Preston well.

“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. We wish John all the best in his philanthropic endeavours and adventures,” he said.

Recently, Preston, who has had a media career spanning more than 30 years, was instrumental in Publicis’ acquisition of New Zealand’s largest independent media agency, MBM.

Now, however, it’s time to try something different, he said.

“After over three decades in media, it’s time to try my hand at something new and very different,” Preston said of his decision.

“My career in media has been a fantastic journey working with a host of amazing and inspiring people along the way. The industry has been good to me and I am proud of what I have achieved. 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’s focus moving forward, though, will be on combating climate change. He explained that the sale of Match has allowed him to “get back to my roots as a marine biologist”.

“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,” he said.

“Publicis has been a great business partner as well as being flexible to work with, allowing me to adapt into various roles for which I sincerely thank them. I wish the team in Australia and New Zealand, led by Michael Rebelo, all the best in its future business transformation.”

Publicis Media’s Boyle thanked Preston for his work and leadership.

“John is one of Australia’s most respected media professionals, with a wealth of knowledge, an entrepreneurial spirit and proven leadership skills,” Boyle said.

“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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