British ad legend leaves AMV BBDO after 26 years

By Published on .

Cilla Snowball
Cilla Snowball

Cilla Snowball, the group CEO and group chairman of AMV BBDO, is to depart the London agency after 26 years.

Snowball, a former AdAge Woman to Watch and one of the highest-profile women in U.K. business, is to pursue a "portfolio" career of roles. She'll be succeeded by the current Chief Client Officer Sarah Douglas as CEO and current Managing Director Justin Pahl as group chairman effective Jan. 1, 2019.

Snowball departs after a strong year for the agency, with client wins such as supermarket chain Asda, and creative awards including three Cannes Grand Prix for work including Libresse's " Blood Normal" and Plastic Ocean/Ladbible's "Trash Isles."

"I could carry on forever here and be happy or I could leave and do other things in business," Snowball tells AdAge. "But the time is right, the team is ready. Succession planning should be about looking forward with pride and back with excitement. I'm determined to go out on a high."

Andrew Robertson, president and CEO, BBDO Worldwide, said in a statement: "About a year ago, Cilla told me she was giving me 12 months' notice of her intention to leave her position and pursue a portfolio-based career, working on the boards and government initiatives that she is frequently approached for. Since then, I have spent most of my time pretending the conversation never happened; and Cilla has spent hers tirelessly developing the agency's business, reputation and leadership team. As always though, Cilla meant what she said. And now, after 26 years, that time has come."

Snowball, 60, joined AMV BBDO in 1992 as the agency's first new business director, and has served as its managing director, chairman, group chairman and chief executive.

In the wider industry she has served as chairman of the U.K. Advertising Association and president of WACL (the women's advertising group), the Marketing Group of Great Britain and The Thirty Club of London. She also chairs the Women's Business Council, is on the boards of both BBDO Worldwide and property company Derwent London, and is a member of the Facebook EMEA Client Council.

A strong advocate of diversity and equality, she was given the title of Dame by the Queen in 2017, the first woman in advertising to receive it. In 2013 the BBC named her one of the 100 most powerful businesswomen in Britain.

Most Popular
In this article: