At the same time, he has promised to continue the initiative begun by the current president, Bruce Haines, to get creatives more involved with the trade body.
Woodford, 43, whose nomination was approved by the IPA council this week, will begin his two-year stint as president after his formal election at the IPA's annual meeting, held in April.
His elevation follows a long association with the IPA. He is the chairman of its Value of Advertising committee, which oversees the Effectiveness Awards, and is leading its so-called Diversity project.
The initiative aims to attract more people from different racial sectors into agencies and to increase the industry's understanding of ethnic marketing, an area he claims it is seriously deficient in.
An economics graduate from London's City University, Woodford joined Nestle as a trainee in 1980. He later worked at Lintas and Waldron Allen Henry & Thompson before the first of his two spells at WCRS, which was punctuated by three years as the deputy managing director of Leo Burnett. He has been the chief executive of WCRS since 1999.
Haines said: "Not only is Stephen actively involved in the running of his business -- and that's not always been the case with previous presidents -- but is known to all the people in our industry and is well placed to deal with them."
"Stephen also has an easy charm which people like. Part of the president's job is getting people to do things and it's very difficult to say no to him," he added.
Woodford takes over after what has been an intensive period of activity by Haines and the director-general of the IPA, Hamish Pringle. Initiatives have included putting creativity at the top of its agenda and proposals for a "supergroup" to be the voice of the entire UK communications industry.
Woodford said: "I want to build on what Bruce has started but I'm aware that change takes time and that there are no quick fixes."
His appointment to such a time-consuming role raises questions about the impact on WCRS; its managing director, Jason Coward, resigned last month and department heads report directly to Woodford.
But he insisted: "I've a good and experienced management group which runs the agency and gives me plenty of cover. I already spend one or two days a week out of the agency meeting clients."
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