Ward, 50, joins from TBWA\London, where he was the creative director working on accounts such as 3, five and the Labour Party. He first joined the agency in 2000 as a group head before spending a year as the executive creative director of TBWA\Hong Kong in 2002.
Ward began his career in advertising at J. Walter Thompson in 1980. He has had stints at Ayer Barker London and Homes Knight Ritchie followed by commercials director roles at Flying Colours London and Terry Bunton Films Sydney.
He then went into film, writing the movie Backbeat, before returning to agency life in 1998 at Modem Media as the creative director, where he remained for two years before heading to TBWA.
Robert Campbell, McCann's European executive creative director, said: "Stephen is an amazing all-rounder. He has done all the things that most creatives only dream of doing. He has the wisdom and experience to handle a massive piece of business such as Mastercard, coupled with the energy and talent it takes to do great work."