The worldwide chief executive of PHD Network was selected at this week's meeting of the IPA council. He is expected to begin his two-year term of office in April, succeeding the WCRS chief executive, Stephen Woodford.
The selection of Pattison, 48, culminates an effort by the IPA to reflect the growing diversity of its membership and to end perceptions it is still dominated by creative agencies.
Not since Bert de Vos, then the boss of D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, and the IPA president from 1985 to 1987, has it been headed by someone from a media background.
"It's a historic moment," Hamish Pringle, the IPA director-general, said.