Terry Savage to step down as Cannes Lions chairman

Long standing Cannes Lions chairman, Terry Savage, will be stepping down after the 2018 event, the event’s organisers announced overnight.

Savage was appointed CEO of the global advertising festival in 2003, and served for the last decade as Chairman. During his tenure the event saw massive growth but has not been without controversy.

Outgoing Cannes Lions chairman, Terry Savage: “Creativity has been central to everything I believe in.”

Prior to taking his management position with the Lions, Savage was the Australian representative on the festival’s organising committee and CEO of Val Morgan Cinema Advertising in Sydney.

When Savage took the CEO position in 2003, the Cannes Lions attracted 16,392 entries. In 2016 entries reached a peak of 43,101 before falling back to 41,170 submissions for this year’s event.

The festival’s growth, however, attracted criticism for being too big and unwieldy with ad giant WPP threatening to walk away from the conference and French rival Publicis Groupe pulling out of the 2018 event.

In response to the criticisms, the festival’s organisers this year announced a revamp of the event with categories being cut and more restrictions on entries.

During Savage’s tenure, the event has also attracted criticism for ‘scam entries’ – campaigns designed solely to win awards which only have a token public outing to meet entry criteria .

Reporting of this issue saw a public falling out between Savage and Mumbrella.

Speaking on his planned retirement, Savage said, “Creativity has been central to everything I believe in and having spent a large part of my career involved with Lions I leave in the knowledge that creativity in all of its varied forms will continue to thrive and be centre stage at Cannes Lions.

“The Festival has always evolved, and I am certain it will continue to evolve as the industry changes, and thrive as it has for 65 years.

“Post Cannes, through the business opportunities I have before me, I will continue to ensure that the profound commercial and social impact of creativity takes a preeminent place in organisations around the world, and look forward to helping others achieve a like-minded position.”

Philip Thomas, CEO of Cannes Lions’ parent company Ascential Events, added: “Terry has been a huge figure in the history of Cannes Lions for decades – those who know him will know he is a big personality with a big passion for creativity and for the Festival he has worked on for so long.

“He leaves with our best wishes for the future, and we look forward to working with him as closely as ever in the run up to the 2018 event.”


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