Robert Sawatzky
Sep 29, 2021

Unilever media chief David Porter to retire in 2022

The media reform advocate and Unilever VP of global media for APAC and Africa will step down in February but hopes to stay connected with industry bodies.

Unilever media chief David Porter to retire in 2022

David Porter, one of Asia-Pacific's most influential and ardent media reform advocates, is planning his retirement in February 2022.

Unilever's VP of global media for APAC and Africa has been with the FMCG giant for more than 11 years, since leaving Mindshare as managing partner for Asia, Africa, Middle East & Turkey in 2010. 

Porter's retirement has been in the works for some time, and Unilever is likely to confirm the succession plan later in the year. 

Well-known to the industry for his work at several industry bodies, Porter leads the activities of the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) in the region as VP for APAC. He is also chair of the Mobile Marketing Association in APAC and has chaired the APAC Effies, where he remains a council member. 

"I've had a great time working with those with all three organisations and I want to stay as close as I can to them in the future in some capacity," Porter told Campaign Asia-Pacific.

After taking up the WFA's top regional role in February 2020, Porter played a central role in shaping WFA’s first Asia Leadership Board. He has also promoted the WFA’s Digital Charter and worked with other brands, agency groups and digital partners to advance the work of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media.

A member of Campaign's Power List of APAC's top CMOs every year since its inception, Porter is well-known for his forceful commentary on how to advance media reforms around transparency, fraud and viewability. 

In a LinkedIn post announcing his retirement, Porter stated he was more than proud of his Unilever team alongside friends at the WFA, MMA, partners and agencies. He underscored the progress made by media professionals since his first ad agency job in 1977:

"Back then, they called us 'cattle thieves with calculators'...they said the carpet stopped where the media department started," Porer said. "This was definitely back-office work tolerated by agency chiefs who relied on the 15% commission which media buys attracted. This bred a generation of media people hungry for independence, success and recognition."

These days, media agencies are frequently "the jewel in their holding company‘s crown", with their leaders sitting at the top table, he continued. "In the brand marketing community, many media leaders drive their companies’ agenda for digital transformation, data-driven marketing and ecommerce/performance. They provide essential thought leadership, holding the digital community to account when it comes to making the internet a safer, more reliable and diverse space for brands and the public—particularly young people and the under-represented—to enjoy the extraordinary digital world we built together."

Many industry notables have congratulated Porter on his retirement on LinkedIn:

Stephan Loerke, CEO, WFA

We will miss you, David. Incredibly grateful for your leadership over all these years. It has been great fun!

Bessie Lee, CEO, Greater China, JLL

You are too young to retire! Thank you for being such professional client to agency. Marketing world needs more clients like you to drive the changes the industry needs to thrive! 

Joanna Flint, chief commercial officer, Mandarin Oriental

Progress indeed David Porter 裴德为 and congrats to all that you’ve achieved. What a journey for you and the family… wishing you all the best for the next chapter.

Amrita Randhawa, CEO, Singapore and Southeast Asia, Publicis Groupe

Thank you for being that unique supportive colleague who cheered others along and that unique client that not only valued partnership but understood and brought to life their role in creating an outstanding partnership.

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