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Publicis Sapient appoints John Maeda as Chief Experience Officer

Maeda joins Publicis Sapient from Automattic, where he served as the Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion

Nigel Vaz and John Maeda

Publicis Sapient, the digital business transformation hub of Publicis Groupe, has announced the appointment of John Maeda as its Chief Experience Officer.

“John Maeda is one of the most extraordinary design and technology thinkers of our age, with an exceptional pedigree as a leader helping companies to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation to reimagine their business and industry,” said Nigel Vaz, CEO of Publicis Sapient.

Maeda joins the Creative Executive Collective of Publicis Groupe whereby creative leadership is multi-faceted and structured to develop the necessary broad palette of creativity for the modern world – dynamic creativity brought to life through stories, experiences and innovation.

“Publicis Groupe is one of the only companies in the world that can connect the full customer journey through creativity — where story meets experience as the bridge to technology, all powered by data. With his expertise and leadership in connecting design and technology to create more powerful products, services, and experiences, John adds incredible strength to our ability to create meaningful experiences for customers,” said Nick Law, Chief Creative Officer for Publicis Groupe.

Maeda’s role as Chief Experience Officer forges an engineering and design partnership, unconventionally decoupling experience from the traditional creative lead, and instead pairing it with the EVP of Engineering. This action draws on the strength of Publicis Sapient’s history of tightly synergistic technology and experience, and signals a deeply technologically grounded future where creativity is fully integrated.

“We have always believed that the brand is the experience and the experience is the brand and, within Publicis Sapient, spent nearly three decades utilising the disruptive power of technology and design to help digitally enable our clients' business in their pursuit of next. By fusing strategy and consulting, experience and engineering with an enduring culture of problem-solving creativity, we are able to partner with our clients to both identify and unlock how they create value for their customers and markets,” said Nigel Vaz, CEO of Publicis Sapient.

Along with spearheading design globally, Maeda will spend time on people, bringing his commitment to inclusion and talent development to the table — vital components to unlocking real value for clients.

“Our clients have long been seeing a need for technology and media to work hand-in-hand without losing or degrading the creative product. Maeda’s history of fostering inclusive thinking as the key to excellence in creativity is exactly in line with the strategic pillars for Publicis Groupe in our talent and culture development,” said Carla Serrano, CSO, Publicis Groupe.

Maeda said, “When a technology becomes commoditised, the quality of experience becomes the key differentiating factor. But you can’t have a great experience without being paired with great technology. Publicis Sapient brings to its clients full-stack engineering capabilities blended with its rich history at the forefront of creativity technologies — stretching back to the ’90s when I first knew about them in my MIT days. Aspiring to empower established businesses at all scales to realise great experiences for their customers to push back on Big Tech is in line with where my heart is right now. I’m looking forward to the impact we can make and excited to join this great, multi-disciplinary team.”

Maeda joins Publicis Sapient from Automattic, where he served as the Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion. Maeda serves on the Board of Sonos, the Smithsonian Design Museum and Weiden + Kennedy, and is the author of five books including the bestselling, ‘Laws of Simplicity’.

Prior to Automattic, Maeda held the roles of Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins and Design Advisory Board Chair of eBay, Inc. Before that, he was a tenured research professor at the MIT Media Laboratory and 16th President of the Rhode Island School of Design.

Maeda was the recipient of the White House’s National Design Award, the Tribeca Film Festival’s Disruptive Innovation Award, and his work is represented in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. He holds degrees in Electrical Engineering + Computer Science from MIT, an MBA from Arizona State University, a PhD from University of Tsukuba in Japan, and has received three honorary doctorate degrees.

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