DDB Worldwide has appointed Cannes Lions veteran Susie Walker in a new role as its creative chief of staff.
Walker will focus on retaining and attracting talent and helping DDB’s projects to gain recognition within the network and at award ceremonies.
She brings a decade of experience working for Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, one of the industry’s most recognized creative awards.
As VP of awards and insight, Walker has been at the forefront of Cannes Lions’ engagement with the creative community and has established new award categories that reflect contemporary trends in the creative business.
Walker said she will implement insights she has gained from analyzing data around creative performance and trends at Cannes Lions to help cultivate the creative culture at DDB.
Walker shared with Campaign US that while leaving such an “industry institution” was a “massive decision”, the DDB position seemed like a unique opportunity to get back into the creative sphere.
“This role is about bringing together the creative community at DDB, nurturing, celebrating creative talent, and then creating a culture that just produces brilliant work,” explained Walker. “The cherry on top of that would be that to get that work and those teams recognized for the creative work that they do for their brands.”
She said she values the work culture in DDB, describing the network as having “real heart and soul as well as culture-shifting work.”
Walker will work closely with DDB’s global chief creative officer Ari Weiss and global chief marketing and communications officer Donna Tobin, as well as its global and regional creative councils that evaluate the work of the network throughout the year.
In efforts to introduce new points of view, the company recently diversified the global creative council, which counts 30 staffers, to introduce a greater mix of demographics and socio-economic backgrounds and ensure it has an equal gender ratio.
Weiss told Campaign US: “We wanted to make sure that we weren't just sitting in a room with a bunch of powdered wigs, knocking on a table agreeing on things. We really wanted a group that we're going to challenge each other.”
Diversifying awards juries remains an area that “the industry could improve on”, Walker noted. Cannes Lions was criticised this year for only having one Black juror on its 24-strong Brazilian jury — despite half of the Brazilian population being Black.
(This article first appeared on CampaignLive.com)