Staff Reporters
Dec 7, 2022

40 Under 40 2022: Sian Whitnall, OMD

While achieving business milestones, this people-centric leader devotes equal time and effort on employee-satisfaction and elevating the next generation.

40 Under 40 2022: Sian Whitnall, OMD
Proven leaders with path-breaking expertise 

Sian Whitnall


“The future of OMD is in good hands,” remarks ANZ CEO for Omnicom Media Group, Peter Horgan, on his colleague Sian Whitnall. 

In her nine years with OMD, Whitnall’s career has taken her across various roles in the agency and in each position she has shone. From being an interactive director in 2013 to head of digital at OMD Sydney in 2017, to chief digital officer a year later, to the current position of co-CEO—Whitnall thrives on her strength in building equitable partnerships with colleagues and clients through it all. 

The pandemic was perhaps the most challenging years for the media agency. Add to that disruption followed by the exit of then CEO Aimee Buchanan who joined Group M as ANZ CEO, the agency remained without a CEO for several months until Whitnall and Laura Nice stepped up as co-CEOs in November 2021. 

As a high-potential leader, Whitnall’s strategic focus on the ‘Performance with Integrity for our People and Partners’ programme not only evolved the agency’s structure and product capability while balancing workloads and preventing churn, but also resulted in major business wins and client retention. In the fiscal 2021/2022 year, client retention rates stood at 99%. The agency was also appointed as a consolidated media agency for the NSW Government and retained Coles Group.

Whitnall’s expertise in Australia’s digital landscape, demystifying data and abiding to transparent practices are reasons for the success of consultancy solution OMD Navigate which she built and maintained. A framework simplifying the application of data to marketing, Navigate involves the delivery of digital transformation roadmaps and adoption of this method across OMD’s clients in Australia and New Zealand have added to agency revenues. 

Whitnall’s passion to make digital, data and tech education accessible translated to a win at the B&T Women Leading Tech awards last year. Her leadership impact is not limited to OMD but felt across the larger industry through efforts such as creating globally published white papers, judging the Effies APAC, and being a regular speaker at key industry events. 

Whitnall never ceases to add more plates to her juggling act: implementing the internal DEI charter, mentoring young talent to drive a connected and positive culture in the team, charting clear lines of career progression for OMDers, and normalising mental health conversations are just a few of the additional attributes that make her an endearing leader. 

Proven leaders with path-breaking expertise 


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