Jason Lonsdale, executive planning director at Saatchi & Saatchi, has been appointed chair of The Account Planning Group (APG), taking over the reins from Russ Mitchinson, head of strategy at Leo Burnett, who has held the role since 2013.
Lonsdale joined the APG committee in 2012 after arriving in Australia from acclaimed Canadian agency TAXI the same year. Since joining Sydney’s Saatchi & Saatchi office, Lonsdale has transformed the strategic output of the agency and founded a social media practice within his planning group.
Welcoming Lonsdale to the role, Russ Mitchinson, said: “I am delighted that Jason has accepted the role of APG Chair, with the support of our fantastic Committee. He has been instrumental in developing and driving the APG’s agenda over the past few years, especially around education. I am confident Jason’s stature, smarts and commitment will ensure the role of planning in Australia continues to be celebrated for years to come.”
Under Mitchinson’s leadership, the APG has continued to raise the profile of planning in Australia, championing unexpected thinking for brands and business, which has served as the guiding vision for all activity. Key achievements include forging a strong relationship with innovative technologists, such as Google, showcasing the role of strategic thinking in world-class creative with Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, as well as creating closer ties with the effectiveness community with a seat on the Effies committee.
During his time, both the APG’s Planning Idol and APG Creative Strategy Awards have continued to showcase the best of Australia’s planning community and strategic thinking, while the Battle of Big Thinking and APG Insights Series have worked simultaneously to develop and inspire the creative and innovative thinking capabilities of planners and account management teams. The APG committee has also introduced the media planning discipline its leadership, as well leading the diversity challenge with a commitment to 50/50 gender balance.
Lonsdale said: “I am thrilled to be taking on the role of APG Chair. I would like to thank Russ for his commitment and leadership over the past few years, and wish him well on the board of the Communication Council. Moving forward we will continue to demonstrate our commitment to the APG vision, fostering planning talent through our many innovative programs, events and initiatives.”