Advertising Association picks Tesco chief as president

A BelliniThe Advertising Association has appointed Tesco chief customer officer and executive sponsor for for diversity and inclusion Alessandra Bellini as its new president, succeeding Keith Weed who has completed his three-year tenure in the role.

As president, Bellini will guide the strategic direction of the association’s work as it aims to deliver on its mission on behalf of the UK advertising industry – to promote the role and rights of responsible advertising and its value to people, society, businesses and the economy.

The new president will work with chair Philippa Brown, who is also CEO of PHD Worldwide and chief executive Stephen Woodford, to lead a council of industry leaders from media owners, agencies, brands, and trade bodies.

The association’s current activities include rebuilding public trust in advertising through its Trust campaign, building a fully inclusive workplace through ‘All In’ and taking positive action on climate change through Ad Net Zero.

In addition, the president will support the direction of the association’s work around major regulatory issues and the promotion of UK advertising as a global hub for the world’s advertisers.

Bellini joins as the association holds its global Ad Net Zero summit next month to provide a platform around COP26 for a conversation about advertising’s response to the climate emergency, backed by the launch of a new training qualification.

And, as the industry emerges from the pandemic, Bellini will play a crucial role in advancing the position of advertising as a pillar of the UK’s £110bn creative economy, as well as continuing to engage with the Government on proposals and regulations affecting the sector’s digital markets.

She started her career in advertising at JWT Milan, as an apprentice straight out of school and then worked in advertising for 12 years in Italy and the UK.

Bellini then worked for Unilever for over 20 years, holding different board-level positions in marketing and general management in Italy, Central and Eastern Europe, and the US.

In March 2017, she joined Tesco as chief customer officer, leading customer strategy. Her role brings together all the disciplines of marketing, advertising, innovation, loyalty, and insight with the aim of putting customers at the heart of Tesco.

She is also chair of Teens Unite, a charity helping young adults facing cancer live their best life.

Woodford said: “Firstly, I would like to thank Keith for his enormous energy and commitment during his time as president. He has led the way, during a period of huge change to help our work in rebuilding trust in the industry and acted as the brightest bastion of the principles and responsibilities we take into the future.

“I am hugely excited now to welcome Alessandra, a greatly respected leader in the advertising and marketing spheres, as our new president. Her international experience in board-level positions across the world makes her perfectly placed to advocate for the strength and economic position of the UK’s advertising industry as we recover from the pandemic.

“Her strategic guidance on issues of key important facing the industry will be invaluable as we look to build out ‘All In’ work on inclusion, as well as push forward with support for Ad Net Zero, to ensure our workforce is best-equipped to respond to the climate crisis. It is a crucial time for the industry, as we face many challenges in the form of upcoming Government legislation on gambling, along with a review into online advertising – all of this tempered with rising digital adspend.”

Bellini added: “At a time when the industry is emerging from the pandemic and customer behaviour is evolving, responsible advertising has never been more important. It’s a privilege to represent members and I look forward to working with Stephen, Philippa and the team as we build on the fantastic work over the last few years and set an example on the issues that really matter.”

Weed concluded: “At a time of such change, it was important to make real progress on the big issues and opportunities in the industry.  I wish Alessandra all the very best for her presidency and the mission to continue to build trust and responsible advertising.”

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