"For the first time this is something that recognizes sustained creative excellence and performance over a longer period of time."
The global chief executive has been with the WPP agency for 41 years.
A number of ad agencies have already made layoffs due to COVID-19 impact.
Former AB InBev CMO Miguel Patricio joined the food marketer as chief exec last summer.
Cases of the deadly virus have topped 200,000 people worldwide as of 18 March
"There's so much more to Cannes Lions than just the event."
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