The award recognises his work as WFA president and his wider contribution to the marketing industry over his illustrious 37 year career.
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David Wheldon has been awarded an OBE in the UK Queen’s New Year Honours List. The award is recognition for his work as WFA president between 2015 and 2019 as well as his wider contribution to the power of purpose and the importance of diversity and sustainability in a variety of marketing roles spanning an illustrious 37 year career.
As President of the WFA, he used his position to speak out about how the digital ecosystem was letting society down, playing a critical role in encouraging the world’s biggest advertisers – the ultimate funders of the digital ecosystem – to hold the major global digital platforms, such as Google and Facebook, to account.
In his most recent role as CMO at RBS, he worked alongside colleagues to create a company that had purpose at its heart, served society better and had a real commitment to bringing environmental sustainability into the heart of decision-making.
He was also disability champion at RBS, working with the Business Disability Forum to ensure inclusion became business as normal, supporting the not-for-profit organisation’s activities in Scotland.
As CMO of Barclays, he captured the launch sponsorship for the Premier League, leveraging its value both in the UK as well as taking it to countries in Africa, accompanied by players such as former Chelsea player Didier Drogba, to support markets where Barclays was facing strong competition.
Outside of work, he is a member of the Teenage Cancer Trust’s Corporate Advisory Board, helping the charity to build corporate relationships and also works with The Marketing Academy to mentor young leaders and support apprenticeships in marketing.
“Thanks to David, today the internet is a lot safer for people and for society. He successfully led efforts to ensure that the big online platforms finally felt enough financial pressure from advertisers to take stronger action to reduce the spread of harmful content online,” said Stephan Loerke, CEO of the WFA. “His leadership was most obvious in the wake of the 2019 Christchurch Attacks, where he helped galvanise collective action from the industry on an unprecedented scale, including the launch of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), which has ensured platforms put in place greater protections for brands, society and people.”
Wheldon retired from his role as Chief Marketing Officer of Royal Bank of Scotland in March 2020. Previously, he was Group CMO of Barclays, Global Brand Director at Vodafone and Global Director and Vice-President of Advertising at Coca-Cola. He occupied multiple senior brand and agency roles throughout his career having started out at Saatchi & Saatchi in 1983 as an account executive.
He currently hosts the WFA’s Better Marketing podcast.