With over 25 years of experience in cross-functional advertising and marketing, Townsend is well-equipped to spearhead the IAB South Africa and champion the growth and evolution of the South African interactive and digital advertising industry, according to the bureau.

"As new marketing technology comes to the fore, fundamentally changing the way we do business, the industry must be able to adapt rapidly and scale efficiently in order to keep up with relevant international trends," the bureau says. 

"The days of dividing digital and analogue or on and offline in business are officially over. Marketing and communications are no different. As we unlock the power of 5G and edge computing, all previously traditional channels such as TV, radio and outdoor now come online and can be bought programmatically," says Townsend. 

"With all this in motion, the IAB South Africa is set to not only help marketers, agencies and publishers navigate this exciting world but to also help lead them. There has never been a more exciting time to step into this role and support the incredible work from over 100 industry leaders who volunteer their time and expertise to drive the industry forward," adds Townsend.

Prior to joining Accenture, Townsend was the group CEO at Wunderman Thompson South Africa, where he worked with clients including Telkom, Standard Bank, BMW and Shell.

Some of his previous positions include:
  • CEO at Pangea Ultima
  • the executive director of strategy at The Jupiter Drawing Room
  • CEO of Trinergy Brand Connectors, and
  • deputy MD of Ogilvy JHB.
Townsend has served as an IAB South Africa executive board member since October 2019 and is a member of the IAB South Africa's Transformation Council, which spearheads the IAB's priority strategy of transforming the South African advertising and marketing landscape to one of diversity and inclusivity.

Townsend succeeds Alistair Mokoena, who remains on the IAB South Africa executive board and stepped down from the chairperson position as his appointment as CEO of Google South Africa no longer met the constitutional criteria for IAB chair.

Townsend will lead the executive board alongside Claire Cobbledick, director and GM of Gumtree South Africa, who serves as the vice-chair.

For more information, visit www.iabsa.net. You can follow IAB South Africa on Facebook or on Twitter.