Cheryl Wannell, SAWA’s Chief Executive Officer, To Retire Next Month

Cheryl Wannell of SAWA

Her visionary leadership grew the organization’s presence in 38 countries – raising the Cinema Medium’s global profile and impact.

Hamburg ( July 14, 2022 ) -

SAWA Global Cinema Advertising Association today announced that after 20 years of running the global trade body, Cheryl Wannell will be retiring on August 19, 2022 to pursue personal interests with her family. Stepping into the role of Chief Executive Officer will be Julian Pinn, a founding member of the SAWA Digital Committee and Cinema industry veteran.

During her tenure, Cheryl Wannell is credited with working with her membership and global partners to bring to fruition many of the industry’s most ambitious initiatives including: Setting the industry’s ethical and technical international standards and best practices; establishing a partnership with Nielsen to measure global Cinema industry trends; raising the profile of the Cinema Medium to the creative community through annual sponsorships and seminars at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity; and developing a founding Partnership with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative which was introduced to the Global Cinema medium in 2015 and has addressed gender equality, food insecurity, and in 2022, climate action with the Frankie the Dinosaur “Don’t Choose Extinction” campaign.

In response to the pandemic that nearly brought the medium to its knees in 2020, Cheryl created the Global Task Force Forum — a knowledge base to help members rebuild their businesses and developed the Ad Legends #HelloBigScreen campaign in which some of the most iconic legends in the advertising, communications, and humanitarian worlds, described the power of the Cinema medium — a first for the Global Cinema Medium.

Cheryl Wannell joined SAWA in 2003 running the Secretariat from London. In 2004, she was named General Manager and subsequently in 2006 returned to Sydney, Australia and continued to run the secretariat. In 2017, Cheryl became Chief Executive Officer responsible for running the day-to-day operations and responsible for working with the global trade body to drive the profile of the Medium.

Noting Cheryl’s steadfast leadership of the trade body, Weischer Cinema CEO and SAWA President, Florian Weischer said, “Appointing Cheryl as CEO was one of the best decisions SAWA ever made. She led the trade body through sizeable changes in the industry such as the complete digitization of the Cinema Medium and — over the past two and a half years — through a global pandemic that halted the industry. Cheryl’s contribution to SAWA’s success is enormous. Her network, skills and positive character helped SAWA come out of these challenges in a positive direction. In 2015, Cheryl established the mutually beneficial relationship with the United Nations to raise visibility and credibility of the Cinema Medium and has made this an ongoing powerful campaign for the Medium ever since. Without Cheryl’s passion and drive leading the charge, cinema advertising would not be in the shape it is now. If there would be an Academy Award for Screen Advertising, it would definitely be hers.

“With Cheryl’s departure, SAWA had to find the right person to take the organization into the future. We believe that we have found the perfect successor in Julian Pinn. He will be known as a professional to most of the people in our industry, as an expert in sound and image for the medium and as a person who is able to work globally in cooperation with so many nationalities and cultures represented in SAWA. We are very much looking forward to the next era in SAWA’s history with Julian.”

Echoing Florian Weischer’s praise for Cheryl, Kathryn Jacob OBE, CEO of Pearl and Dean UK and incoming President of SAWA, commented, “Twenty years of leading the only global trade association is a testament to Cheryl’s talent, determination, and focus. She is highly skilled in bringing the SAWA members together to drive excellence, creativity and the highest of standards. Our markets and operations vary, but Cheryl has kept us on track and together whatever has come our way: her work on the Global Task Force during the pandemic is an example of that. Now Julian is taking over, he will bring his own extensive skills and capabilities into SAWA, building on the strong legacy of work that’s already in place. I will miss Cheryl very much and look forward to working with Julian as SAWA continues to thrive.”

Cheryl’s resignation is effective August 19 although she will continue to support as required the global trade body on a pro-bono basis for 12 months.

Reflecting on her departure, Cheryl shared, “I have spent all my career working in the Cinema Advertising industry. My love for this medium is enormous. There are so many members and directors to thank for their trust and support, too many to list. At the end of 2019, I made the difficult decision to retire and intended to exit at the end of 2020 after the scheduled SAWA biennial convention. I resigned to our President only to find a month later, in February 2020, not having the heart to leave SAWA with the incredible hardships the industry was facing due to the Covid pandemic. I needed to stay on task to support our global members and see the organization through until this 68-year-old trade body was on solid footing again. SAWA is now back on track — as are many of our member countries. This is the right moment in my life to spend time with my husband, wonderful children and beautiful grandchildren. I will also have time to devote to my other great passion — cooking and writing a book on entertaining. Florian was a great President and friend during the past eight years working together to grow the Cinema Medium. In addition, great thanks go to Rob Cooksey and Laura Adler who I consider family. They never missed a deadline and always did their very best to support me through the tough times and the good times. Now, as SAWA looks to the future, Julian and Kathryn will do a superb job together and lead SAWA along new exciting paths and help grow and nurture this wonderful medium of Cinema.”

As he prepares to take on the role of SAWA’s CEO next month, Julian Pinn, JPPinn Ltd., shared, “I’ve had the honour and privilege to have been closely associated with SAWA for 25 years. Over that time, I have had the pleasure and good fortune to meet and be inspired by so many amazing leaders and pioneers within the global cinema medium — all ultimately through their membership of, or association with, SAWA. It is of course true to say that, as a trade body, SAWA is its members, is its executive board, and is its president, Florian Weischer, but I know I speak for all of SAWA regarding our indebtedness and appreciation of SAWA’s CEO, Cheryl Wannell, who for more than 20 years, like a great chef, has added to these ingredients and synergistically combined them into many times more than their sum. It has been my privilege to have worked alongside SAWA and Cheryl for all this time and it is my honour now to be invited to dare to step into her shoes. I very much look forward to working with our new president, Kathryn Jacob, our executive board, and all our members as we further embrace the digital future.”

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About SAWA Global Cinema Advertising Association:

SAWA is the global trade body of Cinema Advertising Companies who sell the medium and Associated Companies that supply services and products to the cinema advertising industry. SAWA develops international standards and best practices for the Cinema medium and works to improve communication among Cinema Advertising companies around the world in order to facilitate streamlined buying of the Cinema medium for brands and agencies. SAWA has partnered with UN entities since 2015 to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals.