Cannes Lions

Jose Papa Is Named Managing Director of Cannes Lions Festival

U.S.-Educated Brazilian Takes on Work Done by Philip Thomas, Now CEO of Cannes Parent Ascential

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Jose Papa, a U.S.-educated Brazilian who currently works for another business owned by the Cannes Lions' parent company Ascential, has been named managing director of Lions Festivals, starting Sept. 1.

Credit: Lions Festivals

Earlier this year Philip Thomas, who was CEO of Lions Festivals for almost 10 years and continued to run this year's Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, was announced as CEO of Ascential Events. In his new role, Mr. Thomas will manage the Exhibitions & Festivals businesses, which includes the Cannes Lions festival he will continue to be involved in.

Mr. Papa moves from WGSN, Ascential's global fashion trend forecasting service, where he has been CEO since January 2015, based in New York. He joined WGSN in 2012 and was previously regional director for Latin America.

Brazil is a key market for the Cannes festival, and has been the second biggest source of entries after the U.S., although that has dropped in recent years as Brazil's economic crisis worsened.

Before joining Ascential, Mr. Papa worked for several years at Brazil's Estado media group, which publishes one of Brazil's leading newspapers, O Estado de Sao Paulo, and is also the official representative of the Cannes festival in Brazil. Mr. Papa was Estado's head of corporate strategy, starting in 2011. He has also worked at ESPN Brazil and at live entertainment promoter T4F.

Ascential Events' CEO Philip Thomas said, "Clearly this role attracted a lot of interest, and I am delighted that Jose has agreed to join Lions Festivals. He has led WGSN to unprecedented success, and with a deep understanding of our brand and huge international experience, he was the outstanding candidate for the role."

Mr. Papa will move from New York to the Ascential Events offices in London. Ascential, owned by private equity group Apax and the U.K.'s Guardian Media Group, is an events and business information company whose most important business is the Cannes Lions festival. Ascential's board of directors attended this year's festival to become more familiar with the event, staying at the Majestic Hotel. Ascential did a long-planned initial public offering in February, selling 35% of the company.

Mr. Papa's managing director role at Lions Festivals includes Cannes Lions and the three mini-festivals within the festival -- Lions Health, Lions Innovation and Lions Entertainment -- plus regional awards shows including Dubai Lynx for the Middle East and Eurobest.

Mr. Papa was educated in the U.S. and began his career at Salomon Smith Barney.

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