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Advertising Association names Keith Weed as President

The Advertising Association has announced Keith Weed, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Unilever, as its new President.

He takes on the role from September 1, following the completion of the tenure by the current President, Andy Duncan, CEO of travelopia. As President, Weed will guide the strategic direction of the Association’s work as it partners with Government to showcase UK advertising to the world, helps to grow the wider UK economy with its SME advertising initiative and tackles the challenge of rebuilding public trust in advertising.

The Advertising Association is the voice of UK advertising, uniting brands, agencies and media to combine strength and seek consensus on the issues and opportunities that affect them. The new President will work with the Chairman, James Murphy of adam&eve DDB, and Chief Executive, Stephen Woodford, to head up a council of industry leaders from media owners, agencies and brands that collectively shape the voice of advertising. The Association also works closely with other industry bodies around priority areas of change including support for Media Smart, the media literacy programme for 7-16 year olds which is funded by advertisers, media owners and advertising agencies.

Weed joins the Advertising Association during a crucial time for the sector. At a time of great technological, political and societal change, he will play a key role in promoting the role and responsibilities of advertising and ensuring the UK remains a world-class hub for advertising talent for the long-term.

Digitalisation of the industry

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive, Advertising Association said:

“Keith is a highly influential leader of marketing and advertising on the world stage and his strategic guidance on the biggest issues we face as an industry, not just here in the UK, but as the leading global hub for brands, media owners and agencies could not come at a better time. I know he will bring great insight and energy to our work over the coming years. It is a vital time as we work through the digitalisation of our industry, the shifting political sands and the changing expectations of our workforce and the wider society from advertising. I also want to say a heart-felt thanks to Andy Duncan who has been a wonderful President, providing clear and principled advice every step of the way during his tenure; he has been a real guardian of the best that we can be as an industry united.

Commenting, Keith Weed said:

“It’s an honour to take on the role of President of the Advertising Association at such an exciting time for the industry. I look forward to working with Stephen and the team to continue to build trust in advertising and cultivate world-class talent across the UK.”

As the top marketing executive at the world’s second largest advertiser, Weed is responsible for Unilever’s Marketing, Communications and Sustainable Business functions, a role which has seen him lead the creation of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, and direct significant advances in digital marketing and through Unilever’s #Unstereotype initiative.

His responsibilities align with Unilever’s vision to grow the business while reducing its environmental footprint and increasing its positive social impact.

Changing advertising

Most notably, Weed has been a leading voice in the advertising industry on cleaning up the digital ecosystem and is committed to tackling stereotypes – gender and beyond – in advertising through Unilever’s #Unstereotype initiative and as the architect behind the #Unstereotype Alliance, co-created with UN Women, bringing together 24 companies to remove the portrayal of unhelpful stereotypes from their advertising by 2020. He has also championed the development of brands with purpose through Unilever’s crafting Brands for Life strategy.

Recent recognition includes Forbes ‘World’s Most Influential CMO’ in 2017 and 2018, ‘Global Marketer of the Year’ by the World Federation of Advertisers and The Drum’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.

Outside Unilever, Weed is Chairman of Business in the Community International and a Business in the Community Board Trustee, President of the History of Advertising Trust, an Effie Board Director and Trustee of Grange Park Opera. He is also a Fellow of The Marketing Society, and as an engineering graduate, a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

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