John Osborn joins Ad Net Zero as U.S.A. director

Longtime Omnicom leader charged with convincing U.S. businesses to sign up to the ad industry’s climate initiative.

John Osborn. (Photo credit: Ad Net Zero).

Ad Net Zero, the advertising industry’s climate initiative first launched in the U.K., has hired longtime Omnicom Group leader John Osborn to lead its expansion to the U.S.

Osborn brings substantial experience to the role, which will involve growing Ad Net Zero’s supporters and tailoring the initiative for the U.S. market.

He was a senior figure at Omnicom Group agencies BBDO and OMD for nearly three decades. Most recently, he led OMD as U.S.A. CEO for nearly five years. He announced his departure in July to pursue nonprofit work, and was succeeded at OMD by Christina Hanson. Previously, Osborn spent 25 years with BBDO, including 13 as CEO of BBDO New York.

Osborn is also passionate about elevating the industry and supporting nonprofits. He serves on the board of the American Advertising Federation and The Advertising Council, is chairman of the board of the American Red Cross of Greater New York, president of and on the board of the Woodstock Foundation. 

He was previously a board member for 15 years of the Police Athletic League of New York, where he worked closely with the Commissioner’s Office of the NYPD and the District Attorney’s office to serve more than 40,000 underprivileged children of New York City.

Ad Net Zero announced plans to expand to the U.S. and Europe in June during the Cannes Lions festival after forming a global coalition. Companies that signed up to expand the initiative include the "big six" agency holding companies; Google and Meta; Unilever; European broadcaster Sky; U.S. trade bodies the ANA, 4A’s and the IAB; European and global agency associations EACA and Voxcomm; the WFA and the IAA. 

Osborn’s job will be to convince more U.S. companies to pledge to the initiative, which aims to get the ad industry to net zero carbon emissions within the next decade. It includes a five-point action plan to decarbonize advertising operations and use advertising to encourage consumers to switch to more sustainable products and services.

The U.K. chapter of Ad Net Zero has signed up 100 advertisers, agencies, media owners and production companies since it was founded in November 2020. Ad Net Zero was launched by a trio of trade bodies but is run by The Advertising Association.

Ad Net Zero is hosting a global summit in November, which will take place during climate change conference Cop27.

This story first appeared on 

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