Publicis Sapient names John Maeda as Chief Experience Officer

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

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

The selection of Maeda, one of the world’s leading lights of computational design - the convergence of design and technology - signals Publicis Sapient’s ongoing commitment to pushing the boundaries of how businesses create exponential value for their customers and markets through the fusion of design, technology, and consulting.

John’s addition to the creative leadership operations of Publicis Groupe further differentiates and accelerates our offering of dynamic creativity and personalisation at scale. 

As part of our unique fused creative leadership model, John brings to bear an unprecedented expertise in design, experience and engineering to the marketing and business transformation our clients seek.

Nigel Vaz, CEO of Publicis Sapient, said, “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 innovation and reimagine their business and industry. 

“I’m delighted that John, with his shared passion for exploring possibilities where business, design, and technology merge, has chosen to join Publicis Sapient on our journey to deliver digital business transformation for our clients. 

“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.”

Engineering and design

Maeda’s role as Chief Experience Officer forges an engineering and design partnership at the highest level, unconventionally decoupling experience from the traditional creative lead, and instead pairing it with the EVP of Eng. 

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.

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.

John 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 back 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 and the Smithsonian Design Museum, and is the author of five books including the bestselling, “Laws of Simplicity.”

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.

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.

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