Jose Papa, Managing Director of Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, is to depart from the role after just under two years, reported The Drum. Philip Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Ascential Events and Chairman, Cannes Lions will take over his duties.
Papa’s departure follows that of Terry Savage, the longtime chief executive then chairman of Cannes Lions, after this year’s festival, which was announced in December 2017.
In an email sent around the business by Thomas, he thanked Papa for his “unwavering commitment to Lions Festivals, and his leadership of the business through such turbulent times.”
Thomas also described the decision as “incredibly difficult” and said that he was “genuinely sorry to see him go.”
Papa's exit comes as attendance at the company's flagship festival was rumoured to be down by "20 to 25%" on last year, despite Papa initiating a series of changes to help the festival return to its creative roots.
"We know from our customers that the Cannes Lions 2018 reset was a real success, but we also know that it has had financial implications for the business," said an Ascential spokesperson.
"As such, we have regrettably made the role of Managing Director, Cannes Lions redundant. We thank Jose Papa for his unwavering commitment to Lions Festivals and his strong leadership of the business throughout this period of change."
Papa first took the helm of Lions Festivals in August 2016, joining from fashion trend forecasting service WGSN, which is also owned by Ascential.
(Inputs from The Drum)