Stephen started his career as marketing trainee at Nestle in 1980, after graduating from City University in London with an economics degree. After two years he moved to the agency side of the business, joining Lintas to work on Unilever business.
After three years at Lintas, he joined a small start-up called Waldron Allen Henry and Thompson, a breakaway from DDB in London. In 1989, he joined WCRS for the first time, as Group Account Director, on a portfolio that included Carling Black Label, then one of the UK's favourite beer advertisers.
In 1991, he joined Leo Burnett as Deputy Managing Director and Head of Account Management and helped to raise the new business and creative profile of that agency, the high point of his time there being the win of the Mercedes-Benz car account.
In late 1994, he rejoined WCRS and became Managing Director shortly afterwards. Stephen was made Chief Executive Officer of WCRS in 1998 and in 2004, was part of a management team that bought back the agency from the French holding company, Havas.
From 2003 to 2005 Stephen was President of the IPA. During his tenure, he introduced professional qualifications for entrants to the business, and to date, over 5000 new starters in the business have completed the courses he commissioned.
In January 2007, Stephen joined DDB as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, realising a long-held ambition to work for the agency. He has recently stepped down as President of the ad industry's self-help organisation, NABS, and has become a Patron of NABS.
He represents the advertising industry on the board of Creative Skillset and is also a Trustee of Changing Faces, the charity that works to help those people with facial disfigurement.
In January 2007, Stephen joined DDB as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. His seven-year tenure at DDB culminated in him overseeing a 2012 merger with Adam&Eve.
In November 2013 Stephen joined Lexis as Chairman. Woodford will work alongside CEO Jason Gallucci as the Next Fifteen agency continues to grow beyond its PR roots.
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