Luke Littlefield named media executive of the year, Jason Dooris gets runner up for CEO of the year

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Dentsu Aegis boss Luke Littlefield has been named media executive of the year.

Atomic212 boss Jason Dooris was namer runner up for CEO of the year while marketing executive of year was given to Michael Howard, director of marketing of Swisse Wellness. 

The announcement:

This evening, The CEO Magazine has revealed the winners in the fourth annual Executive of the Year Awards hosted by Eddie McGuire, held for the first time at Crown Melbourne.

With more than 600 entries, the awards identify the achievements of aspiring and established leaders in 22categories including CEO of the Year, Managing Director of the Year, Chairperson of the Year, CFO of the Year, and CIO of the Year.

Winners were judged by an expert panel of highly regarded business professionals including Libby Roy, Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand, PayPal; James Ajaka, former CEO, Nudie; Ron Santiago, Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand, Europcar; John Karagounis, Managing Director and CEO, The CEO Circle; along with The CEO Magazine’s judges, Chris Dutton, Founder and CEO, and Daniel Di Loreto, Publishing Director.

The judges examined the business acumen of applicants on their personal achievements, the contribution and differences the individual has made to the company where they work, financial highlights, and new initiatives that they have established.

This year, the brand new Start-up Executive of the Year category was introduced to the program, set to showcase the entrepreneur whose achievements have shaped the business landscape within the financial year 2014/15.

Judging the Start-Up Executive of the Year category was Silicon Valley royalty and most prominent investor in early-stage technology Adeo Ressi, Founder and CEO of the Founder Institute. CEO and Founder of The CEO Magazine Chris Dutton said since the inception of the awards in 2012, they continue to grow and improve.

“It really is an honour to stage an event that is a true celebration of Australia’s leading business talents. Many thanks go to the businesses helping to create a valuable awards program. Each year we aim to recognise new opportunities for the program. This year we are excited to hold the event for the first time in Melbourne, a new award Start-Up of the Year Executive category has been added to the program, and for the first time we had theceomagazine.com eight finalists in the coveted CEO of the Year category.

“The superb business acumen displayed by applicants across all categories is truly inspiring. The winners across all categories are individuals who are working to build the Australian economy. They share those defining attributes of leadership, innovation, and the courage to take risks, and have also shown that they are willing to drive strategic change.”

Taking out the coveted CEO of the Year category was Christine Holgate, CEO of the publicly listed Blackmores Group, which is Australasia’s leading Natural Health Brand operating across 14 markets with revenues of approximately $475 million and a market capitalisation of almost $1.5 billion.

In the past 12 months, Christine’s key objectives were to deliver profitable growth for Blackmores’ shareholders; support their Australian brand and return it to profitable growth; invest in Asia and BioCeuticals, secure new revenue growth streams for the organisation; and create product leadership and to drive operational effectiveness.

Under the leadership of Christine and these clear objectives, group sales grew 36 per cent and profits grew by more than double this. The market capitalisation of the organisation grew from $520 million to $1.5 billion, Blackmores has secured market leadership and the honour of most trusted brand in key markets. Blackmores is now the largest Austra-Asia Natural Health Group.

Runner-Up for CEO of the Year went to Jason Dooris, CEO of Atomic 212.

In 2014, Atomic 212 chief executive Jason Dooris oversaw the transformation of the agency from a digital-only business into a full service media agency, with competencies across media buying, strategy, digital, search, data and analytics, custom publishing, and content.

In the space of a year, staff numbers, revenue, and profits grew considerably. The agency was the fastest growing media and marketing company in Australia in 2014, and is now the largest independent media agency in Australia.

Key client wins from blue-chip brands like Dick Smith, Origin Energy, TAB, Progressive Insurance, Nike, and Think Education have bolstered this success.

Marketing Executive of Year was given to Michael Howard, Director of Marketing, Swisse Wellness Pty Ltd.

Michael joined the Swisse Wellness team as Director of Sales, in January 2014. He was then promoted to Director of Sales and Marketing, on top of heading up the Skincare and Functional Food teams.

Over the past 12 months, Swisse has outperformed business objectives, including increased revenue by 90 per cent, improved EBITDA margins and transitioning from a highly leveraged position to a net cash position. Throughout this period, the team has strengthened its unique and entrepreneurial culture.


Matthew Kates, Sales Director ANZ of Zerto, took out Sales Executive of the Year.

Matthew Kates, Sales Director for Zerto has been pivotal in opening up the business in Australia and launching Zerto in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) back in January 2014. Since his appointment, he has achieved 5000 per cent increase in pipeline, 600 per cent revenue expansion and secured the largest single transaction in company history.

Matthew is a key contributor to the APJ leadership team and is not afraid to play the devil’s advocate to stimulate new or alternate ways of thinking.

Media Executive of the Year was awarded to Luke Littlefield, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network.

Dentsu Aegis Network is a $2.5bn organisation: 3,000+ clients, 1,550 staff, 25 agency businesses with six locations across Australia & New Zealand. Dentsu Aegis Network is the largest, most diverse and successful marketing and communications business in Australia. Luke’s philosophy is one of a collaborative, ‘values based performance culture’.

Under Luke’s leadership grew turnover, revenue and PBMC at 5.1 percent, 58.8 per cent and 80.2 percent respectively.

The business evolved through its founder’s departure, major acquisitions and transitions, emerging as Australia’s largest and leading marketing communications company.


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