Terry Savage, the long-standing chairman of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, is set to depart the organisation following the 2018 event.
The news comes as Ascential’s festival embarks on a series of radical changes following feedback from the industry and Publicis' public withdrawal from next year's event. Adjustments include the shortening of the event’s length from seven to five days and overhauling the awards category structure.
Savage was notably absent from the event announcing the changes in November.
There are currently no plans to replace the role, an Ascential person confirmed.
Savage has worked with the festival in some capacity for 33 years, first as Australia’s country representative. After a stint as chief executive, he took on the chairman role in 2003.
While not confirming his next moves, Savage said that “post-Cannes, through the business opportunities I have before me, I will continue to ensure that the profound commercial and social impact of creativity takes a preeminent place in organisations around the world, and look forward to helping others achieve a like-minded position”.
He added: “Creativity has been central to everything I believe in and having spent a large part of my career involved with Lions I leave in the knowledge that creativity in all of its varied forms will continue to thrive and be centre stage at Cannes Lions. The Festival has always evolved, and I am certain it will continue to evolve as the industry changes, and thrive as it has for 65 years.”
Philip Thomas, chief executive of Ascential Events, added: “Terry has been a huge figure in the history of Cannes Lions for decades – those who know him will know he is a big personality with a big passion for creativity and for the festival he has worked on for so long. He leaves with our best wishes for the future, and we look forward to working with him as closely as ever in the run up to the 2018 event.”
The Drum spoke to Savage about the rise of APAC marketers attending the festival at 2017's event.