Marty O'Halloran

Former national champion rower and Chairman of DDB Worldwide

Marty O'Halloran's career is one of steady progression and leadership within the advertising industry. He began his journey in Melbourne, Australia where he discovered his passion for rowing which would later influence his leadership style. O'Halloran began his career in advertising as an account manager at USP Needham Melbourne in 1986.. coinciding with the global merger of Needham and DDB. Over the years, he rose through the ranks eventually becoming CEO of the New Zealand branch in 1988 and later assuming the role of Australasian Chairman and CEO in 2005. 

His career took an international turn when he became the Global CEO of DDB Worldwide in July 2020. Under his leadership, DDB in Australia and New Zealand became the fastest-growing international network in the region and earned several awards. O'Halloran's deep understanding of client requirements and commitment to fostering creativity, talent and culture made him a respected figure on the advertising landscape. After four years as Global CEO Marty O'Halloran transitioned to the role of Chairman in October 2023. His career trajectory demonstrates dedication to driving creativity within the industry.


Raised in Melbourne, Marty O'Halloran attended St Kevin's College and took up rowing at Mercantile Rowing Club in Melbourne—a sport that continues to shape his leadership approach at work. 

O'Halloran rowed in the Victorian youth eight at the 1981 Australian Interstate Regatta and at the 1982 Australian Interstate Regatta. Shortly he participated in the bow seat of the Australian men's heavyweight eight at the 1985 World Rowing Championships in Hazewinkel. That crew rowed to a ninth placing.

Professionally O'Halloran started out at USP Needham Melbourne as an advertising account manager in 1986. It was the same year that Needham and DDB agency networks merged worldwide. After moving to Auckland in 1988 he became the CEO of the New Zealand operation and later in 2005, he was appointed Australasian Chairman and CEO and from 2009 he executed that role from New Zealand. In 2008, he moved back to Auckland to supervise the region. 

Marty O' Halloran's career was on an upward trajectory. In July 2020 he succeeded Wendy Clark as Global CEO of DDB Worldwide. Currently, Marty lives in New York and oversees over 149 offices worldwide. "I never chased the big roles overseas because it was always my belief that we could build the best agency in the world here in New Zealand and Australia – you didn’t have to be in New York or London to be the best" he told Mumbrella Australia. "Our team down here has proven that, and now it’s my privilege to take that learning and apply it on the global stage."

With over thirty years of experience at DDB Marty O'Halloran brings a deep understanding of the network's rich history, culture and people to the role of worldwide CEO. Throughout his career, Marty has been a driver of creativity, talent and culture. He has a deep understanding of client requirements which resulted in the Australia and New Zealand agencies being some of the most recognized and awarded agencies in the world. "Drawing on my rowing days I see myself as a coach within our business" Marty told Mirror Review. "By bringing people together from around the world we can offer our employees more than they’ve ever imagined and motivate them through unexpected creativity".

Under Marty's leadership DDB in Australia and New Zealand has been recognized as the fastest-growing international network in the region. In his role as CEO of DDB Worldwide Marty's leadership spans sixty countries countries across the world. So it's no wonder that during his tenure the region won Agency of the Year and Regional Network of the Year at prolific awards ceremonies including Cannes- One Show- Spikes and Campaign Asia Pacific. 

In the most recent news- the agency released a statement in October 2023 that Alex Lubar succeeded Marty O' Halloran as Global CEO of DDB Worldwide. O'Halloran will continue as Chairman. "It has been my honor to lead DDB over the past four years" O'Halloran said in a company release. "The talent across our regions is incredible and together we've been able to produce work that has achieved transformative results for our clients and has been awarded as some of the best creativity in the world… I look forward to working in a Chairman's capacity with Alex and Glen as they partner in leading the way forward with their global leadership team."


Marty O'Halloran's vision for advertising is deeply rooted in his extensive experience within the DDB network. With over thirty years in the organization, he brings a profound understanding of the agency's legacy and corporate culture to his role as Chairman. 

Throughout his career O'Halloran has been a passionate advocate for creativity, talent development and fostering a thriving organizational culture, both within DDB and for its clients. His grasp of client needs has led the Australia and New Zealand branches to become some of the most esteemed and decorated advertising agencies worldwide. Under his leadership, these regions dominated in several International and regional awards.

Marty O'Halloran's leadership has played a pivotal role in shaping DDB's recognition as the fastest-growing International advertising network within the Australia and New Zealand region. "Quality communication still works. Not only do people like them, they will share them as well. Consumers now are demanding better experiences from brands and creativity is more important than ever," O'Halloran told Media Week. 

Recognition and Awards
Under Marty O'Halloran's leadership DDB won 2023 Network of the Year at Cannes, Network of the Year for the past three years at D&AD and Network of the Year at Effie US and Latina.

Marty O'Halloran
New York
As Chairman of DDB Worldwide, Marty O'Halloran is recognised as an industry leader.
Known for
Deep understanding of client requirements and commitment to fostering creativity and culture on the global advertising landscape
As Chairman and CEO of DDB Group Australia and New Zealand, the region dominated in a variety of prolific awards. Under his leadership DDB Worldwide has been recognized as the fastest-growing international network in the region.
St Kevin's College and Swinburne University in Melbourne
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