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Publicis Sapient appoints John Maeda as chief experience officer

Publicis Sapient has appointed John Maeda as chief experience officer.

Maeda joins from Automattic, where he was the global head of computational design and inclusion. He also sits on the board of Sonos, the Smithsonian Design Museum and Weiden + Kennedy, and his work is part of a permanent collection at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

CEO Nigel Vaz (L) and chief experience officer John Maeda (R)

“John Maeda is one of the most extraordinary design and technology thinkers of our age, with an exceptional pedigree as a leader helping companies to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation to reimagine their business and industry,” said Nigel Vaz, Publicis Sapient’s CEO.

“We have always believed that the brand is the experience and the experience is the brand.”

Publicis Groupe’s chief creative officer, Nick Law, added: “With his expertise and leadership in connecting design and technology to create more powerful products, services, and experiences, John adds incredible strength to our ability to create meaningful experiences for customers.”

Publicis said Maeda will also spend time focusing on talent development and “fostering inclusive thinking”.

“When a technology becomes commoditised, the quality of experience becomes the key differentiating factor. But you can’t have a great experience without being paired with great technology. Publicis Sapient brings to its clients full-stack engineering capabilities blended with its rich history at the forefront of creativity technologies — stretching back to the 90s back when I first knew about them in my MIT days,” Maeda said of his appointment.

“Aspiring to empower established businesses at all scales to realise great experiences for their customers to push back on Big Tech is in line with where my heart is right now. I’m looking forward to the impact we can make and excited to join this great, multi-disciplinary team.”

Maeda has also authored five books, and was the recipient of the White House’s National Design Award and the Tribeca Film Festival’s Disruptive Innovation Award. He holds degrees in electrical engineering and computer Science from MIT, an MBA from Arizona State University, a PhD from Japan’s University of Tsukuba, and three honorary doctorate degrees.

Prior to Automattic, Maeda was design partner at Kleiner Perkins and eBay’s design advisory board chair. He has also been a research professor at the MIT Media Laboratory and president of the Rhode Island School of Design.

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