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Patrick Collister quits Google days ahead of comms chief

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By Katie Deighton, Senior Reporter

February 1, 2018 | 4 min read

Patrick Collister, creative lead at Google’s the Zoo EMEA, has left the business in the same week as its head of communications and public affairs EMEA, Peter Barron, announced his own resignation.

Patrick Collister joins The Drum team as contributing editor

Patrick Collister quits Google

Collister departed on Friday (26 January), just four days before comms chief Barron announced his intention to leave in March.

Collister, the former executive creative director and vice chairman of Ogilvy & Mather, initially joined as the tech giant’s head of design in 2013. His work at its think tank, the Zoo, saw him collaborate with agencies to create digital campaigns with the platform.

He continues in his role as editor of Directory magazine.

"I have had nearly five fantastic years at Google," he said. "I have been privileged to work with some gobsmackingly talented people, especially in the Zoo team. I’ve been able to influence how many agencies think about and work with Google’s platforms to do more effective and, often, more interesting work.

"It has been a blast and I leave behind many friends. Actually, on a broader scale, I’ve been able to help turn a number of hesitant clients on to the amazing opportunities of advertising in the digital space. I really am proof that you really can teach an old dog new tricks. But, as they say – and continuing the canine theme – every dog has its day."

Collister added that while he will not be taking up another industry job, he has been "attending to the emerging snowdrops and daffs in the garden" since Monday.

Barron, meanwhile, is standing down after nearly a decade to pursue a personal dream of renovating a barn in rural Spain.

The former editor of BBC Newsnight moved from journalism into communications to join Google in 2008, taking the role of head of communications and public affairs for the UK, Ireland and Benelux, before moving to his current role as vice president, communications EMEA.

In an email to colleagues on Tuesday (30 January), Barron described his time at Google as a “truly wonderful and unexpected experience”.

Peter Barron

He told fellow London-based staff: “Having spent the last week with Sundar (Pichai, Google’s chief executive) and the other leaders in Davos, I also feel great optimism both about Google’s future and about the positive role of technology more generally - despite all the obvious challenges.

“I know that as a team you are very well set for the campaign ahead.”

Barron’s boss, Matt Brittin, Google’s president of business and operations EMEA, added: “Peter has been an inspiring and valued colleague, friend and leader who is highly regarded both inside and outside Google. He has been an important part of all the big moments for Google in the last ten years.

“We will miss him and we wish him all best in his next endeavours.”

Additional reporting from Ian Burrell

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