IAB UK Leadership Summit 2020: Day One Morning


“Leadership Summit gives us an opportunity to step away from the day-to-day and come together to interrogate and debate the big issues” said IAB UK’s CMO James Chandler, kicking off our fifth annual Leadership Summit at Sopwell House. Chandler also shared that the event is one of the first to be DICE-certified, meaning it represents a diverse set of speakers, perspectives and attendees. 


With a room full of senior delegates from across the world of digital advertising, IAB UK’s CEO Jon Mew used his opening session to call on the industry to work collectively to “rearc-hitect what we’re doing”. 

In his view, the end of third-party cookies presents a unique opportunity to do things differently, but only if we look beyond technical solutions. Pointing to how Leadership Summit has in the past sowed the seeds for change - the concept of the Gold Standard stems from a Townhall debate at the event in 2017 - Mew asked delegates to use the next day and half to work together to “reassert positivity, rebuild trust and importantly leave tomorrow believing we can restore pride in our industry”. 


Commentator and Strategist Benedict Evans followed with a future-facing look at what’s next for tech and the effects of our connected society. With 5.5 billion adults on the planet and 5 billion of them owning a mobile, we have reached a point where “technology has collided with the real world”. 

As a result of tech’s saturation, traditional retail categories have become blurred or, as Evans succinctly put it, there has been “a process of diffusion”. With retail and services no longer being as binary offline and online, marketplaces are becoming less distinct; from Netflix to Tinder to Shopify, everything is now a tech company.  

While Evans said that technology will inevitably continue to evolve, the next fundamental change for the industry will come in the form of regulation. But, for example, when a company is both a bank and a tech company, who regulates it? In Evans’ view, when it comes to regulation, only one thing is for certain - this is not a new challenge. “Every wave of tech changes the world and gets regulated” he said, “the key is working out what problems you’re trying to fix”.

From technology to diversity, Fiona McDonnell, Amazon Advertising’s UK Managing Director, shared insights on how diversity can drive innovation. Focusing on Amazon’s research on women working in innovation-focused roles across UK industries, her session covered the importance of building an enabling work culture, supporting confidence-building and “the natural power that comes from helping people be themselves”. Her resounding message? When it comes to creating more inclusive work cultures, be bold; “Fortune sides with (s)he who dares”.


Neil Sherlock CBE shared his view on the prospects for Boris Johnson’s Government. With Johnson’s victory marking the fourth consecutive time the Tories have been the largest party and second majority in 10 years, Sherlock pointed out that power, not least because of the size of the majority, firmly resides at No 10 as the reshuffle showed. 

On the subject of Brexit, Sherlock said that this is the “first time that a country has negotiated with a major trading partner to agree a worse deal than it has currently got”. While he agrees with Sir John Major that a “flimsy deal” being reached by the end of the negotiation period he puts the chances at 52/48.  it would rely on the “current red lines that both sides have becoming somewhat pinker”. In his view, there needs to be a landing point where people on both side of the negotiations “come back from some of the harshness of the rhetoric”.

Catch up on day the first day's afternoon sessions here.

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