John began in advertising in the UK in 1966, and after a spell in brand management moved back to South Africa in 1976, joining the Ogilvy partner agency.
He transferred to Ogilvy in Canada, returning again to South Africa in 1981. Between 1981 and 2009 he held the positions of MD of Ogilvy Jhb, Group MD of Leo Burnett, MD of Ogilvy Africa and CEO of GroupM, Africa.
John served on the board of the Association of Advertising Agencies for sixteen years. He chaired that body as well as the Marketing Industry Trust and the Advertising Standards Authority.