PHD appoints ‘visionary’ planner as global marketing chief

Asia-Pacific strategy lead Chris Stephenson fills the void left by Avril Canavan.

PHD's new marketing chief, Chris Stephenson
PHD's new marketing chief, Chris Stephenson

PHD has appointed Chris Stephenson as its worldwide chief marketing officer after two decades as a strategist and planner at the global media network.

Stephenson is currently PHD APAC’s regional head of strategy and planning in Singapore and will relocate to London to begin the new role in January 2022. 

He succeeds Avril Canavan, who left PHD after 11 years in the role to become a consultant.

Stephenson will report to PHD worldwide CEO Philippa Brown and is responsible for the strategic direction of the network’s external and internal marketing and how this aligns to its business development goals.

His remit includes amplifying PHD’s ‘Make the Leap’ positioning across its network of 107 offices in 74 countries.

Stephenson has worked at PHD for nearly two decades in roles in London, Sydney and Singapore. After starting in the UK, he moved to Australia to launch PHD Sydney in 2009 and was promoted to head of strategy and planning for APAC in 2015. 

He has delivered strategic media planning for clients including Diageo, Singapore Airlines, Unilever, ANZ Bank, Google, Coca-Cola, Adidas, Ferrero, HSBC, eBay, LG and The Guardian. 

Stephenson is also a regular draw at industry events, including Cannes Lions, an author of multiple books about the media industry, including PHD’s Shift | A Marketing Rethink, and is regarded internally at PHD as a ‘visionary thought leader’.

“Chris is a talented marketer who understands the PHD brand proposition, product and platforms better than anyone. As well as having solid client experience and a deep understanding of our proprietary systems like Omni and Omni Studio, he has co-authored and championed PHD’s thought leadership over the years, presenting it on industry platforms across APAC,” PHD Worldwide CEO Philippa Brown said.

“He is known as a truly creative thinker and, as Worldwide Chief Marketing Officer, will be instrumental in showcasing how PHD’s strategic, creative thinking can help brands make the leap ahead of their competitors.”

Stephenson added: “For the last two decades I’ve been fortunate to work with brands to engage their audiences in positive, constructive, and innovative ways. Now, powered by our ‘Make the Leap’ philosophy, I couldn’t be more excited to be working with our network around the world to do that for PHD.”


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