Ben Lilley

Ben Lilley

Chairman and CEO - McCann Worldgroup

A Psychology and Economics Major, Ben's career began in the creative departments of some of Australia’s most respected ad agencies, including George Patterson, McCann Erickson and DDB Needham. He received numerous local and international awards for his creative work before launching full-service creative agency SMART in 2000.

Establishing offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland and Auckland, SMART was acclaimed for its creative work for brands including adidas, ANZ Bank, Coca Cola, Dulux, Ferrero, Levi’s, McDonald’s, News Limited, SEEK, Specsavers, Unilever and Vodafone. Named by AdNews as “one of the best known independent advertising success stories in Australia”, the agency was recognised in the AdNews and B&T Agency of the Year, Cannes, Effies, Clios, New York Festivals and numerous other global award shows, and as a B&T Agency Employer of the Year and a BRW Fast100 company.

In 2011, SMART was acquired by McCann Worldgroup, with Ben appointed Australian Chairman & CEO. Within 2 years, McCann has become Australia's most awarded creative agency and achieved global acclaim, most notably for its "Dumb Ways to Die" campaign for Metro Trains, which in 2013 was named the most awarded campaign in Cannes Lions history. McCann Australia is also 2013 D&AD Agency of the Year, One Show Best of Show and AdNews Campaign of the Year among other accolades.

A regular media commentator, Ben has featured in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and as one of AdNews’ Top Forty Under Forty advertising professionals.