Ascential plc, parent company of Cannes Lions, announced today (27 March) the appointment of Simon Cook as the creative festival’s managing director, leading the overall business.
The move is a promotion from Cook’s current role as vice-president, creative excellence. Cook’s primary focus will be accelerating the expansion of Cannes Lion’s learning and advisory offerings, as well as its digital information services. Additionally, he tasked with the continued growth of benchmarking the best creative and most effective marketing from around the globe through the awards program.
Philip Thomas, chairman of Cannes Lions and president of Ascential Events, said that the festival producer had a successful year in 2018 as it reset, and is now ready to refocus on growth. Thomas noted that Ascential conducted a thorough search to find the ideal candidate to lead that growth. Well-known and highly regarded, with a perfectly suited breadth of experience, Cook was the right choice.
“Simon proved himself to be absolutely the right person for the job. He has been the driving force behind many of Cannes Lions’ innovations over recent years and already leads a significant portion of the company, including the Awards, Jury, Learning and Advisory arms of the business. He has also been responsible for launching and spearheading many of our global, year-round initiatives and partnerships such as the ANA/Cannes Lions CMO Growth Council,” Thomas said in a statement.
“I am absolutely delighted to be working with him as he takes the business to the next level and as he realises his exciting vision for the future.”
Cook, a marketing industry veteran who has worked with Cannes Lions for nearly four years, has been critical to the organization’s success, Thomas said. During his time at Cannes Lions, Cook organized the awards framework, created more than half of the Lions awards, and championed Cannes Lion's learning and advisory programs.
“Creativity, in its broadest sense, is powered by people. As the team and I take this exciting next step, we will be dedicated to helping people and their businesses unlock their creative potential because we believe that creativity is a catalyst for business and personal growth,” Cook said in a statement. “I am delighted to guide this team as we continue our mission to connect, inform and empower the global, creative marketing community and help them make the case for effective, creative problem-solving, every day.”