Cannes Lions names Emap veteran to CEO post

The International Advertising Festival, better known as Cannes Lions, has tapped Philip Thomas as the new CEO to help executive chairman Terry Savage run the world’s most keenly fought advertising competition.

Mr. Thomas is managing director of Cannes Lions sibling Emap Media, running magazine titles like Shots, Screen International and Broadcast. He takes over Nov. 1, succeeding to the post left vacant in June by Penny Reid’s sudden departure.

“At the moment my main job is to tuck in under Terry and to help him produce the best Cannes ever next year,” Mr. Thomas said from London.

The festival also appointed Carolyn Lowery as festival director for Cannes lions. A veteran of Cannes Lions, Ms. Lowery first joined as a member of the entries team, progressing to head of entries before becoming operations director in the past two years. She takes over immediately.

Mr. Savage will still lead efforts for the next Cannes Lions, held in the French Riviera resort of Cannes. The 54th festival is planned for June 17-23, anticipating more than 10,000 international advertising executives to sit in on educational sessions and applaud award winners.

In his new job, Mr. Thomas will also run Eurobest and the newly launched Dubai Lynx, one awards festival for Europe and the other for the Middle East and North Africa. But Cannes Lions will take up a lot of his time.

“The plan is that between now and the next Cannes Lions in June, I’ll be learning the ropes and meeting with people and forging the relationships so that I can be ready to take over when Terry formally finishes with Cannes Lions after the next festival,” Mr. Thomas said.

A veteran of British publishing giant Emap PLC, the 45-year-old Mr. Thomas also served as managing director of Emap Australia and held the same title at FHM Worldwide. The company has not yet named his replacement as managing director of Emap Media.

“They will be advertising for a successor in that role,” Mr. Thomas said.

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