Obit: Industry Journalist, PR Exec John Wolfe, Dead At 72

John Wolfe, a long-time journalist and a PR executive who rose to be head of communications for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), died Sunday. He was 72.

A Chicago native who began his career in journalism in the early 1980s at the Associated Press, Wolfe went on to become a prominent editor in the advertising trade press, including ten years as New York Bureau Chief of Advertising Age, and even a brief stint at MediaPost.

He also served as Editor in Chief of Arts & Antiques magazine before transitioning into public relations, initially as senior vice president-director of public affairs for the American Association of Advertising Agencies, and ultimately as director of communications at the ANA.

Wolfe also served for more than eight years as managing partner and director of communications for WPP’s GroupM, as well as its Mindshare unit.



11 comments about "Obit: Industry Journalist, PR Exec John Wolfe, Dead At 72".
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  1. Barbara Lippert from, May 20, 2024 at 7:58 p.m.

    I'm so sorry to hear this. John was a great guy. R.I.P. to someone who will be missed.

  2. Dan Prince from Prince Communications, May 21, 2024 at 8:33 a.m.

    John was a great man - a friend - a confidante - generous of time and spirit.  Irish eyes are most certainly smiling on John.

  3. Geoffrey Precourt from Journal of Advertising Research, May 21, 2024 at 10 a.m.

    A sweet, smart friend.

  4. Steven Erich from Erich & Kallman, May 21, 2024 at 11:01 a.m.

    This is very sad. John worked with us for a number of years and was a huge part of the press we recieved early on. He was a smart, generous man and I always enjoyed talking to him, the last time being in January when he reached out to congratulate us on some work. He will be missed. 

  5. Michael Draznin from Draznin Consulting, May 21, 2024 at 11:17 a.m.

    Such sad news. John was a pro, a friend and a great human being. RIP

  6. Beth Johnson from RP3 Agency, May 21, 2024 at 12:18 p.m.

    John helped RP3 with our PR, and I cannot say enough about what an incredible talent he was. Kind, thoughtful, and brilliant are words that come to mind when I think of John. He had a way with words and a way with people. It seemed like he knew everyone in the industry and was always willing to make a connection. We will miss him so much. RIP, dear John.

  7. Patrick Taylor from 59Media, May 21, 2024 at 12:36 p.m.

    Such sad news. I was lucky enough to work with John during my years at Meredith & Rodale and he was just a wonderful, smart, and gracious man. A consumate professional, he was a great role model to many of us in the communications industry. 

  8. Bill Duggan from ANA, May 21, 2024 at 5:10 p.m.

    I knew John for 20+ years, meeting him soon after my arrival to ANA.  Our paths crossed during his tenure with the 4A’s and later when he was with GroupM. We both went to Boston College and that “BC bond” connected us. When John joined ANA eight or so years ago we got to know one another better and worked together on the press strategy for many important reports – programmatic media transparency, advertising fraud, and the rise of in-house agencies, to name a few. We debated a bit and even disagreed at times. But I always respected him and his opinions. Johnny Boy … you will be missed by many, including me! 

  9. Tanya Gazdik from MediaPost, May 21, 2024 at 8:49 p.m.

    Very sad news. John was always one of the "good guys" and went out of his way to help me on many occasions. He will be missed. 

  10. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia, May 25, 2024 at 10:05 a.m.

    John was outstanding. A true leader; told it like it is. Such a great human.

  11. Katie Kempner from Kempner Communications, May 29, 2024 at 11:31 a.m.

    John was a truly terrific person. I absolutely loved knowing him and working with him. I remember when I was starting out in PR, and he was at the 4A's, he was so wonderful to me. I will miss him and being called "kiddo" (which I've seen in comments following his passing that I am not the only one who will miss this.) My heart goes out to his family. 

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