Steedman resigns as GroupM executive chairman

One of Australia’s most high-profile ad men has stepped down, with John Steedman announcing he will finish up as executive chairman and CEO of GroupM Australasia at the end of June.

Mr Steedman has been a strong advocate for print as a powerful advertising force, telling The Newspaper Works in a video last year that print offered “engagement which no other mass media vehicle” could match.

Saying it was time to “step back and give the next generation the opportunity to lead”, Mr Steedman will remain in a consultancy role at GroupM as a non-executive chairman.

“I’m incredibly proud of everything GroupM has achieved over the past five years and the way we’ve adapted our business model to suit the changing times,” he said.

GroupM will search for a replacement for Mr Steedman and Asia Pacific CEO Mark Patterson will take on his role in the interim.

Mr Patterson described Mr Steedman as a “first-class man, colleague, mentor and friend”.

“He has given his all professionally and personally,” Mr Patterson said. “While he is stepping back from the day-to-day management of the company, the good news is he will be with us on hand and ‘on call’ to advise, counsel, mentor and assist along the way.”

Mr Steedman was the founder of media agency Mindshare and helped to build GroupM in Asia Pacific and Australia. The past six months have been among his toughest professionally with an audit by Ernst & Young reporting irregularities in post-TV campaign reporting at GroupM agency Mediacom.

The group adopted all of the EY recommendations, including the establishment of a three-person compliance team across the Australian business, which will report to GroupM chief investment and intelligence officer Danny Bass.

The team will be responsible for delivering the EY recommendations, ongoing TV performance reporting on campaign cost, TARP/audience and reach.

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