Round 1 of 8: September

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Jason Xenopoulos, Chief creative Office, north america and CEO, NYC, VMLY&R

Jason is a creative entrepreneur whose media ventures have spanned all areas of the industry from film and television to music, advertising and the Internet.

Jason currently holds the position of CEO for VMY&R New York and Chief Creative Officer for North America.

In 1993 Jason graduated from New York University with an honours degree (summa cum laude) in Film and Television. 

In 1994, Jason founded VWV Interactive, which rapidly grew to be South Africa’s leading web development company. When Primedia acquired a stake in VWV Jason joined the Primedia Group where he was instrumental in driving Primedia's $150 million acquisition of Ster-Kinekor.

As co-founder and CEO of Primedia Pictures between 1997 and1998, Jason was involved in the development and production of various feature film projects including Boesman & Lena, starring Danny Glover and Angela Basset.   

From 1998 to 2000 Jason held the position of CEO at Metropolis Transactive, an Internet Media company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. At the age of 28, Jason was the youngest CEO of a company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

In 2001, Jason completed his first feature film as writer-director, Promised Land, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and went on to win several international awards. In addition to his work as a feature film director, Jason has directed a host of award-winning TV commercials including one of the first brand-funded feature films ever made (Critical Assignment, 2004). Funded entirely by Guinness, Critical Assignment was selected as the Opening Night Screening at the 11th New York African Film Festival and went on to win the Jury Award at the Hollywood Black Film Festival and the award for Best West African Picture at the Screen National Film & TV Awards in London.

From 2004 – 2007, Jason held the position of Executive Creative Director at Y&R South Africa where he played an instrumental role in winning several major accounts.

In 2008, Jason co-founded 2.0 Media, a Branded Entertainment Agency, where he served as Chief Creative Officer until 2010. Jason ranked in the Top 5 Most Highly Awarded film directors at the 2010 Loerie Awards Festival where he won Campaign Gold and Campaign Silver awards.

In 2010, Jason co-founded NATIVE, which rapidly grew to be Africa's leading digital marketing agency and part of the VML network. Under Jason’s creative leadership, NATIVE VML has won a host of local and international awards including being named global Entertainment Agency of theYear at Cannes Lions in 2017 and twice being named the IAB’s Agency of the Year.

Jason won the All Africa Entrepreneur of the Year title at the 2015 CNBC Business Leaders Awards and Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2018 Jewish Business Achievers Awards.  

Jason regularly judges local and international award shows including Cannes Lions, and Dubai Lynx (where he served as president of the Branded Entertainment Jury in 2018).

Twitter: @jasonxenopoulos