Sam Phillips, chief marketing officer and diversity and inclusion officer at Omnicom Media Group UK, has stepped down after 15 years.
Phillips has been a key figure on diversity and inclusion not only for Omnicom but she has also called on the ad industry to better represent society when she spoke at events such as Media 360.
She was named in Campaign’s annual list of top 10 trailblazers in 2018 after becoming the government’s advertising sector champion for disability.
Phillips was active in many internal Omnicom initiatives, including Omnicom University to train senior executives, Omniwomen, Open DisAbility and Open Pride.
She joined OMD in 2005 as business development director, having spent four years as marketing director at Time Inc and the previous four years in the same role at ITV.
Phillips has also worked at TBWA and J Walter Thompson.
Making the surprise announcement on LinkedIn today, Phillips wrote: "The need for strong and impactful diversity and inclusion leadership and learning, genuine change and sustained action to drive equality has never been more apparent than it is right now.
"I believe business has an important part to play in driving meaningful change and that companies, brands and the humans that lead them can be forces for good. And that that's the sort of leadership that the humans who aren't in leadership (yet) are looking for.
"I'm not entirely sure what's next, so am open to conversation, and then I’ll be back after a summer break with the kids to write the next chapter."
Phillips worked closely with Philippa Brown during her time as chief executive of Omnicom Media Group UK from 2007 until July 2019, when Brown became global chief executive of PHD and handed over the UK role to Dan Clays.
Clays said: "After over a decade at OMG in a number of leadership roles, Sam Phillips will be moving on from OMG UK. We are grateful for everything Sam has accomplished and in particular her efforts as an advocate of diversity and inclusion.
"Sam has made both our industry and our organisation far more purposeful and aware of these urgent issues, and leaves us with a strong foundation on which to build and expand.
"Our focus is now continuing her work with action, accountability and personal responsibility across the business. This is absolutely critical to all of our people at OMG.
"On Friday, we announced a six-point action plan addressing a wide spectrum of D&I imperatives including safe spaces, recruitment and development, representation and education. OMG multicultural lead Serhat Ekinci will help to accelerate this plan and draw on the collective talent across our agencies and central team to drive change."
Omnicom Media Group agencies include Hearts & Science, Manning Gottlieb OMD, OMD UK and PHD.