John Maeda is leaving his role as Chief Experience Officer at Publicis Sapient in order to join an undisclosed Massachusetts-based company working on contact-tracing technology for COVID-19.
He starts October 5 with the company expected to announce additional information over the coming days, including its name and Maeda’s title.
“Given the interrupted state of the world, and witnessing how far Publicis Sapient has advanced in bridging strategy, experience, and engineering in the face of the pandemic, I felt the timing was right to go and face the current crisis head on with everything I now know about Digital Business Transformation,” he stated.
Maeda will continue to have some involvement with the agency, transitioning to the new role of Chair of the Experience Advisory Council. The Groupe is still firming up his specific responsibilities within that new role.
Maeda joined Publicis Sapient in June 2019 and tasked with helping to develop the company’s strategy of utilizing technology and design to help digitally enable clients' businesses. He was active in recruiting those from non-traditional jobs to join the agency, including Leah Buley who was appointed group vice president, experience research lead.
Earlier in his career, Maeda held positions with Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com and venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins. He also served as president of the Rhode Island School of Design
This summer Maeda published an opinion piece on LinkedIn about the pandemic and its implications on the business world. He was optimistic that “the world's not falling apart — in my view — because digital natives are intrinsically different people than the digital dinosaurs and digital immigrants out there,” he wrote.